06/03/2013 11:48 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Avoid the Top 5 Business Lies

I hear many statements that can derail the most savvy business executive. Even though they are often said with good intentions, they usually are just blatant lies. I've compiled a list of my favorites, along with a brief example of how to address each one:
  1. Please Send Me Some Information

    A salesperson calls and they somehow get through your phone gauntlet. Despite your attempts to politely end the call, you finally get fed up.  Being a nice person, you say "Please send me some information."  In most cases, this is code for "Never bother me again."

    Answer:  When a prospect asks you to send information, try responding with "When people ask me for information, they either have something very specific in mind, or I didn't do a good job explaining what we do and they just want to get off the phone.  Which situation are we in right now?"

  2. Your Price is Too High

    "Gee Sally.  Your demo was awesome, but it's just too expensive."

    Answer: Focus on value and the impact of the issue you are solving for them. Two things are happening when someone tells you your price is too high.  Either a) You sell an actual commodity with zero differentiation and your price is higher than the competition while providing no additional value; or b) Your price seems too high because you did not help the client appreciate the value they get in return for their investment with you. If the value is high enough, you can justify almost any price... provided they are confident you can deliver results.

  3. We Like You Best, but Picked Your Competitor

    After several calls to check-in on their decision, your contact returns your call and says "You guys were awesome. Everyone loved you, but we went with another vendor."  My favorite cousin of this statement is "We want to work with you, but you need to match/beat the other guy's price."

    Answer: Think realistically. If they liked you best, they would pick you - not your competitor. But, if they picked your competitor, they may want you to stick around in case things don't work out.  On the second example, if they truly like you better, they should be comfortable paying a bit more for you.  If they thought they could get the same results for less money with the other vendor, why would they bother calling you back? They would just do business with your competitor.

  4. I'm the Decision Maker

    When you ask your prospect "Who is the decision maker?"  The most common answer is "I am."  The person giving the answer a) Wants you to think they have the authority for ego purposes; or b) Is trying to protect the real decision maker; or c) Both.

    Answer: Here are two approaches:  1) "The last time you made a decision like this, who got involved;" and 2) "I was working with another client recently and three other people had to get involved to make it happen. How similar is that to your situation?"

  5. We're different, so this won't work for us. This is the most common one I hear. It usually sounds like "We're a Government Contractor/Accounting /Law/IT Firm, so this approach won't work for us.  We're totally different."  The opposite side of this lie is "We're just like everyone else, so this won't work."

    Answer: I hate to break it to you, but the decision process for how companies buy professional services or technology is pretty consistent. The key to success is to uncover the unique capabilities that help you stand out from the competition. Think about theproblems you solveas a key to unlock your differentiation.

Your Turn

I realize that this is not an exhaustive list. Please share your favorite business lie?  If we pick yours for Same Side Selling, you'll get a free, signed copy of the book.