Stop The Lies & Sell More Deals!

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Not too long ago I heard a story of a traveling sales rep that had a tire blow out late in the night. He found himself stranded, so he walked to the nearest farm house to ask for a place to sleep for the night. He knocked on the door and an old farmer answered; after a brief conversation, the farmer said, "I can put you up for one night, but you'll have to stay in the barn"; the salesman, not having many options, agreed and wandered to the barn.

Early the next morning the farmer came in, and said, "Were you comfortable?" The salesman replied, "I had a great time; I talked to all the animals." The farmer replied astounded, "You talked to the animals?" The salesman said, "Yeah I spoke to the chickens--they say you collect the eggs every morning exactly at five minutes after six." The farmer replied, "That's exactly right."

The salesman continued, "The horse told me his name is Jessie, and you've owned him for 15 years." The farmer, who was shocked, said, "That's incredible!" The salesman continues, saying, "I spoke to the cow, and she said that her name is Elsie, and you milk her every morning at exactly 8:30. And then I spoke to the sheep..." And immediately, cutting the salesman off in midsentence, the farmer yelled, "Those sheep are lying!"

Isn't it true that we hear lies every day? Just think about it. Visit a hospital and you'll hear a lie: "The doctor will be with you in a minute." Visit a dentist and you'll hear a lie: "This won't hurt a bit." Visit a car dealership and you'll hear a lie: "We're barely making money on this one." People lie about their age, their weight, even their height. Some men are barely 5-ft.-10 in., but tell everyone they're 6-ft. tall; they don't consider it lying, but rather, "rounding up."

I hate to admit it, but I've lied about my age, telling people I'm in my late 30s, when the truth is, I'm actually 25! Ok, ok not true...

The worst part is that we lie to ourselves the most! Why in the world would we do this?

Although most people do this on a regular basis, the behavior is quite insane. While lying to others is selfish, lying to ourselves is plain stupid. How is it even possible to fool ourselves? How can we be both the deceiver and the deceived?
The reason we lie is to keep ourselves from being hurt, and usually to protect our self-esteem. There are thoughts that we find unacceptable, and thus we simply refuse to think them.

To some extent, we can be proud of our lies. Lying is considered a sign of intelligence and a cognitive skill because it takes aptitude to recognize the way things are and then create and present an alternative to that reality. It's a skill that we exercise quite a bit.

Why do we lie in the first place? Could it be that we are not satisfied with our current reality? Do we like to create another image of ourselves? Are we creating an illusory life that seems better if only in our minds? Here are five reasons why we lie to ourselves and others:

1. Ourselves: We often lie to avoid painful consequences, shame, embarrassment, or conflict.

2. Our interests: Probably the second most common reason we lie is to get what we want. We lie to get material goods (like money) and non-material goods (like attention from the telling of tall tales).

3. Our image: We all want others to think well of us, yet we all do things we consider less than respectable at times. Rather than admit it, however, and suffer a diminution of others' respect, we often cover it up. Or, having failed to act courageously and virtuously, we lie to appear more courageous and virtuous than we are.

4. Our resources: We often lie to avoid expending energy or time doing something we really don't want to do (going out with a friend we find boring, attending a party we know we won't enjoy, working on a project about which we're not really enthused) but don't feel comfortable admitting.

5. Others: We typically do this because it is not socially acceptable to tell what we are really thinking, as we don't want to hurt others feelings. We also do it to gain acceptance from others because selfishly we want to be loved and admired.

Being honest is critical to business success in many ways. When you are honest about both the good things and the bad things, you build trust and confidence in your business relationships.

The problem with creating a false image is that it is a manifestation of a negative belief about ourselves-we pretend we are better than we believe ourselves to be. Telling an untruth further convinces us that we are not good enough, which leads to low self-esteem and ultimately low performance. Is this what we want?

When customers trust their salesperson, they are more likely to buy from him or her again and again-even when the prices are higher. They'd much rather hear a salesperson admit to and resolve a problem than hear the salesperson make excuses or shift the blame to someone else.

Have you heard the saying, "What comes around goes around?" I believe that what we give out comes back to us two-fold. If you find your business isn't where you want or expect it to be, your salary isn't as high as you'd like, or your relationship with your partner or children isn't how you'd like it to be, then consider your lies.

Honesty does pay off in your favor, which is why it's vitally important to establish a pattern of honesty in your life. Lying only hurts your chances of success in every relationship, whether it's with customers, co-workers, family members, or friends. Even if you think that telling a lie doesn't bother you, your subconscious mind knows it does and places the guilt and shame in other areas of your life. At some level, you always know when you are deceiving yourself or others. Feelings of guilt or shame arise, and your conscience steps in to guide you in the right direction--the honest direction.

You might not be telling an outright lie, but perhaps you are making excuses instead of digging deeper for the true meaning or reality of a situation.

How many of us ignore the truth or reality of a situation? Instead of being honest with ourselves, we often tend to rationalize why things are the way they are-because it seems our self-esteem can't take the truth. Perhaps that's why the phrase, "We don't see things the way they are; we see things as we are," rings so true.

What does it take for you to be honest with yourself and others? The first step is recognizing when you're not being honest with yourself. Then be willing to look beyond excuses for real reasons.

Here are some things to think about if you find yourself not hitting your goals:
I am rationalizing... which is nothing more than: Rational Lies!

No one is buying... LIE - The truth is the world hasn't stopped. People are buying; it may be that you aren't working hard enough, making the necessary calls that you need to everyday. You have failed to work your plan, be present and focus on what you need to do.

The economy is bad...LIE - Although access to cash might not be as great as it used to be, ask yourself the question: Are sales still being made with my competitors? Other sales associates?

My product is overpriced. LIE - No, you haven't done your job as a good sales person to create a strong value proposition. Maybe you should take more time to work on your sales delivery.

No one wants to buy what I am selling. LIE- Maybe you suck at sales and you either need to find someone to do the selling for you or take a class on how to get better!

I am doing the best I can: LIE- Take an inventory of your time and be honest with yourself about how much time you waste on things that don't make you sales.

My product isn't very good. LIE - I was told "no" a couple of times, and it couldn't be me, so it has to be my product. Rejection is a part of sales. Quit taking it personally and realize it's not about you!

I can't find anyone to talk to. LIE - You haven't taken a strategic view of your business to really identify the market that you should and can attract.

Sometimes we have to quit rationalizing and tell the truth!

Make the following pledges today:

Successful people do what others won't do. I will be the one that does what others won't!

I won't make excuses anymore! "Failure is not an option!" and, "I will succeed today!"

It only takes 10 NO's to get to yes; therefore, I have only have to count the NO's to get to YES!

I will STOP rationalizing to myself and will do what needs to be done!

Rob Wilson is a professional speaker and author who speaks throughout the country on topics such as sales, motivation, and personal success. He has been published in many publications including, Success Magazine, Self Help Magazine and Selling Power. He has also appeared on numerous radio and TV stations across the United States promoting his book, "Think & Act Like A Winner." Rob can be reached at

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