Telling lies is a fundamental part of human nature. You’ve never met a person who is always truthful, and that includes your customers. We’re socialized to be pleasant to each other, so when one of us has something to say that we feel will be negatively perceived, we’ll often tell a lie to keep the social interaction pleasant. The lies customers tell are rooted in a customers’ desire to keep their interactions with you as pleasant and friendly as possible, not to deceive or fool you.
We’re not trying to create customer trust issues here. Instead, we hope to outline the lies customers tell and help you learn to identify these lies when they’re told.
5 Lies Customers Tell and How You Can Identify Them
1. I’m the sole decision maker here.
Every solopreneur and salesperson has heard this one. Sure, this customer might be the decision maker at their company, but is it true that they’re the only one? This decision doesn’t have to be approved by anyone else – not even spouses, other vendors, or colleagues? That’s iffy.
Additionally, while it’s true that this customer may be able to say “No” on their own with no outside input, they’re probably not able to say “Yes” without the approval of others in the company. Don’t buy into this one.
2. We’re definitely going with your company.
Ever met someone you considered a “yes man?” They’re the ones that agree with you, no matter what you say. Psychology calls these people high self monitors, meaning they’ll change even strongly held beliefs in order to get along better with someone in a social interaction. The ends justify the means for these types. They’ll say anything to stay friendly with you.
Verbal commitments often don’t come to fruition. If a customer tells you they’re definitely going with your company but they’re not ready to sign a contract and write a check, it’s probably a lie.
3. Your company has an amazing product/service.
Remember the high self monitors described above? They’re at it again! This customer tells you they’re just in love with your company, product, or service. It’s the best they’ve ever seen! You’re so amazing!
It’s better to think of this lie as the girl letting the guy down easy. Before she breaks the real news, she starts off by naming all his excellent qualities – qualities that, in the end, just aren’t enough to make her choose him but still make him SUCH a great friend.
Normal people don’t like to hurt others’ feelings. Customers don’t want to hurt your feelings, and so they tell you your company is awesome and that you’re doing a great job instead of committing to your company. They might mean it, but they probably don’t – actions speak louder than words.
4. You’re the only one.
You’re the only vendor we’re considering. You’re the only choice, the best option by default, right? Wrong. Even if you’re genuinely the only vendor they’re considering right now, that may be because they’re not fully serious about searching for a vendor.
Companies that aren’t considering and comparing a few vendors at one time aren’t usually serious about moving forward immediately. And don’t forget the other option they have – choosing no vendor and continuing the way they have been.
5. Our need is urgent.
Needs and levels of urgency change. Even if the customer has an urgent need right now, it may not be that way tomorrow or next week.
As Mike Michalowicz says, “Urgency is relative to other urgency. For example, if a person has a severe muscle pull in her leg, she may urgently seek rest on the couch. But if her house starts on fire, the urgency will no longer be about lying on the couch; it will now be about getting out of the house.”
Customers sometimes feign urgency to get deals moving more quickly or to test the responsiveness of a new vendor. Don’t think of it as necessarily true unless the customer does want to move forward with a contract.
These are the most common lies customers tell and how you can identify them. Keep these in mind as you negotiate and sell to your customers – and remember, their intention is to keep things pleasant, not to deceive or fool you. Knowing what they really mean when they say the above 5 statements is helpful in determining who’s serious about buying from you and who isn’t.