Do You Lie To Your Customers?

by Michael D. Hargrove     


Do you lie to your customers?

I am fortunate in that I get to work with some of the top people in our field (in North America at least), and my experience has been that these people are, for the most part, good, honest, hard working folk. I imagine that people in general are like that. Most of the professionals attending our events have families, most are career oriented, and almost all are looking for long term success strategies. These are peak performers and they do not lie.

Then it stands to reason, that those who do, are either just being lazy or simply don’t have the tools appropriate for the task at hand. And perhaps my view of the car industry has become skewed because, for years now, I haven’t got to work with these kinds of sales people. As a matter of fact, the people who could use our workshops the most are exactly the ones who don’t come (but that’s a rant best left for later).

For the sake of this article, let’s forget about the moral ramifications of lying, although they are reason enough, in my book, to always be honest. But I want to explore two pragmatic reasons why being dishonest will always cost us more money than it will ever make us.

The first of these is that people intuitively know when we are being deceitful. That’s because about 93% of our ability to influence others comes through nonverbal communication.

In 1967, a study was conducted at UCLA by professor Albert Mehrabian. His findings were later published in his book Silent Messages in 1971 and have been proven over and over again these last several decades. One point in particular that Professor Mehrabian discovered has become a staple of all communication skills seminars of merit. He found out that, in face to face communication, 55% of how our prospect feels about our message is created through our body language, 38% of how our message is received comes through our tone, tempo, volume, and only 7% is through content. In other words, 55% of what our customer reacts to or makes judgements on are things that they can see (body language, facial expressions, proximity, eye contact, etc.), 38% of what our customer reacts to or make judgements on are things that they can hear (tone, pace, volume, enthusiasm, empathy or confidence in our voice, etc.), and only 7% of what influences our customer are the wiz-bang word tracks we all memorize! 93% of how our customers FEEL about what we say has little to do with content.

If we lie, that 93% will usually betray us. That’s also why when we use techniques or strategies that haven’t been well practiced (and conformed to who we are or how we speak) they are sometimes misinterpreted as being dishonest. People don’t like doing business with people they don’t trust and that’s another reason taking the time to personalize our word tracks is so important.

The second, and more insidious, reason is one of self image. Behavioral scientists for years have known that we consistently perform within the limits of our own self images. If we feel we aren’t deserving of success, (Do you remember ever singing “Cheaters never prosper”?) then we will eventually find ways to unconsciously self-sabotage our own efforts. And it’s folly to think that no one will ever find out. The one person that will always know is exactly the one person who welds the most influence on our success; us. And even the occasional little white lie here and there, over time, can be devastating to our self images and in turn our success.

Bottom line is this; a lie is a lie, white or otherwise. When we have our customer’s best interests at heart, and when we are skilled at what we do, then frankly, money is simply too easy to make to ever have to compromise our integrity to do so.

© Copyright 2013 by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. All rights reserved. Michael D. Hargrove is the founder and president of Bottom Line Underwriters Inc.

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