What constitutes honest sales techniques and what crosses the line to be rightly called deception?
Is it dishonest to know of reasons why my product may not be a good fit for a customer and yet sell the product (or service) anyway?  Obviously issues which are clearly negative in nature are exempt from my questioning.  If I know of a defect and don’t disclose that, then in my book that is clearly dishonest.
But what if, after discussions with a perspective customer, I am aware of gaps between my product/service and the customers expectations?  If I do not misrepresent something and the customer merely assumes it, is that deceptive?  I clearly set expectation about what my product could do, I simply did not say what it couldn’t do.  It’s their fault what they assume without asking me.
In this last scenario there’s a mighty steep slope.  Many people in sales would have no problem with this scenario.  Often they’ll say things like “I didn’t tell you anything false,” or “Support will figure that out.”
In my estimation this is just as dishonest.  Of course, no one can possibly cover all the bases but in due course, as I try to ensure my product or service is a good fit, if I uncover something which is contrary to expectations I should clearly address this.  My product/service does not have to be perfect but any known expectation gaps should be clearly addressed before the transaction is consummated.
Many steer clear of philosophies such as this because they “may lose the sale.”  I believe there are two ways to look at this.
  1. It’s about the product or service I am offering to a person
  2. It’s about the person I am offering the product or service to
#1 is a very self-centered approach.  In the end my primary concern is for MY welfare, after all I need to eat, right?
#2 is others centric.  In the end it’s about what’s best for you, my welfare comes secondary.
There are times when it may be hard to justify which is right.
Dave’s test: In my final moments on this earth, which will I offer up as my epitaph?
In my experience #2 is more rewarding than #1.  Maybe not in dollars (although often true) – but it earns something more than money can buy with everyone that crosses my path.
What do you want your life to represent?
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