A couple of weeks ago I read an interesting blog by Seth Godin. Seth Godin has written thirteen books, including Tribes, Small is the New Big, and Purple Cow, that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every book has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. He is also an entrepreneur. This particular blog talked about lying. It posed the question, why lie?
I was particularly struck by the blog because he was discussing why prospective buyers lie to sales people. I am a salesperson and I feel bad when I am lied to and I also feel bad for the person who feels compelled to lie to me. I want to say its okay if you liked the other software better or the price was a better fit for your budget.
I do realize that sometimes a salesperson will question the buyer’s judgment. Not all sales people are that way. When I ask a prospective buyer which product they selected over ours and why, it is not because I question their choice, but because I want to learn. Maybe there was something I did not do well in representing my product or company. I can only learn if the prospective buyer tells me the truth. I am in business to make a living. However, I am also in business because I want to help nonprofits do a better job of raising money. To do that I need shared trust from prospective buyers. It strikes me that this concept spills over into encounters that we have day in and day out. It is not just buyers and sellers, it is employees and bosses, husbands and wives, kids and their parent, and donors and the nonprofits they support.
I like Einstein’s thought: “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” As a sales person, yes, buying my software is a big deal for me and for the nonprofit. Yet, it still isn’t worth lying about.