Top 10 Lies That Sales Reps Tell Themselves

Few habits are worse than self-deception. When you try to fool yourself, you always end up being the fool.

Here are the most common lies that sales reps tell themselves, the hidden truths behind them, and some sage advice for avoiding them.

  • LIE #1: I'm pretty sure the customer has a budget.
  • Why It's a Lie: Budget is either allocated or it's not.
  • The Real Truth: You haven't fully qualified the lead.
  • What Results: You spend time and effort on an account that probably won't close.
  • Your Reality Check: Confirm that a budget exists before expending much effort on an opportunity.
  • LIE #2: My pipeline consists only of fully qualified opportunities.
  • Why It's a Lie: Chances are there are some dead ducks in your pipeline.
  • The Real Truth: Until you develop an account, you don't really know if they're qualified or not.
  • What Results: You consistently over-estimate what you'll be able to close.
  • Your Reality Check: Weed out your pipeline on a regular basis.
  • LIE #3: This is a qualified lead even though they have no budget.
  • Why It's a Lie: If they don't have a budget allocated, they're not qualified.
  • The Real Truth: You're so desperate that you're working the long shots.
  • What Results: You live in a fantasy world where budget magically appears.
  • Your Reality Check: The moment you know that there's no budget, gracefully extract yourself from the "opportunity."
For more lies, click the NEXT button.
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  • LIE #4: I keep all my important customer notes in my head.
  • Why It's a Lie: You don't have a photographic memory.
  • The Real Truth: You're too disorganized to write them down.
  • What Results: Things start falling through the cracks.
  • Your Reality Check: Get an iPad (or even just a yellow pad) and take notes during meetings.

  • LIE #5: Cold calling is bad way to generate new business.
  • Why It's a Lie: If it didn't work sometimes, firms wouldn't use it.
  • The Real Truth: You hate cold calling because you're lousy at it.
  • What Results: If your pipeline dries up, you're out in the cold.
  • Your Reality Check: Keep your cold calling skills current, even if you don't currently need them.

  • LIE #6: That customer will probably make a decision soon.
  • Why It's a Lie: You're just guessing.
  • The Real Truth: You haven't found out how the customer makes decisions.
  • What Results: Your forecast and quota get completely screwed up.
  • Your Reality Check: Always find out how the customer buys, and then periodically check on the progress of that process.
For more lies, click the NEXT button.
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  • LIE #7: I lost that deal because we didn't have feature XYZ.
  • Why It's a Lie: Customers seldom buy (or not buy) because of a feature.
  • The Real Truth: You failed to show how your current product has value.
  • What Results: You never learn why the customer REALLY didn't buy, so you never correct the problem.
  • Your Reality Check: Dissect and debrief every failed opportunity to discover what you should have done differently.
  • LIE #8: I haven't called that customer, but I'll call later.
  • Why It's a Lie: Customers are always the top priority.
  • The Real Truth: You're putting it off because you're afraid of bad news.
  • What Results: You end up making things worse by ignoring a problem or keeping an opportunity live when it's really dead.
  • Your Reality Check: Whenever you feel reluctant to make a call, that's a signal that you MUST make the call RIGHT NOW!
  • LIE #9: I lost that deal because the price was too high.
  • Why It's a Lie: Buying decisions are only made on price for commodity products.
  • The Real Truth: You failed to differentiate yourself from the competition.
  • What Results: In future opportunities, you let yourself get sucked into a price war.
  • Your Reality Check: Find out what's important to the customer and position your current product so that it uniquely satisfies those needs.
For the final (huge) lie, click the NEXT button.

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  • LIE #10: I've been so busy, that I can't follow up on all my commitments.
  • Why It's a Lie: Selling is all about following up on commitments.
  • The Real Truth: You're probably in the wrong line of business.
  • What Results: You end up with angry customers and angry management.
  • Your Reality Check: Immediately (I mean RIGHT NOW!) locate and purchase a time management system, take the time to learn it, and then use it until it's second nature.
READERS: Any more that should be on this list?

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