My Sales Manager Wants Me To Lie! Should I?

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Sales Podcast, The Slow Pitch
The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast
My Sales Manager Wants Me To Lie! Should I?


Should you lie when selling? Recently, we received an email from someone who said, “My sales manager wants me to lie. Should I?” They went on to talk about why they’re asking: It’s a big contract.

We’ve all thought about doing it with a big contract, haven’t we. It’s just a little lie, what would it hurt? A LOT! Imagine starting off your new relationship with a big client based on a lie. Yikes!

Should I Lie During This Sales Call?

In this episode, Lane and Rob talk about what you should do if you’re put into a position that you have to lie. If your Sales Manager wants you to lie, you have a little bigger issue to deal with. Obviously, our advice is to tell you not to lie, but how do you still close the deal without lying? That’s what this episode is about.

More than likely, you already thought, I would never lie during a sales call, but is that completely accurate? More than likely, something you’ve said might have been taken or interpreted differently by your prospect. Verifying they understand you is really important. Make sure you are ready to clarify and ask clarifying questions all along your sales process or you might be surprised later.

Three Reasons Why Sales People Lie

There are three reasons why sales people lie to a potential client. One reason is they don’t know enough about the products or services they’re selling. This can be one of the big motivators to lying. (Source: “Why Salespeople Lie to their Clients.”)

The second reason is the salesperson is a little insecure in themselves and want the potential client to see the salesperson in a positive light…to like them essentially. This is another reason a lot of salespeople fail. It takes a high self-esteem to be a salesperson. This is one area that you should explore more if you feel like this might be you. (Source: “Why Salespeople Lie to their Clients.”)

The third reason is as simple as wanting to make more money. This should never be the motivation to lie, but too many are more motivated by the money than about taking care of the potential client’s needs. If you, or someone you know, have this thought, we would invite you to think about how that will work out long-term. Experience has taught us that being truthful and honest and working on taking care of the potential client will pay you far more than the short-term benefit of lying during the sale.  (Source: “Why Salespeople Lie to their Clients.”)

If you’re thinking about lying during a sales call or if you’ve been asked to lie by your sales manager, this episode is for you.


Related Episodes: 

Top 10 Sales Tips For Beginners

Sales Calls Gone Wrong and Call Reluctance

Know When They’re Not Buying What You’re Selling

Sales Call Tips and Dealing with Hostile People



Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.

The Episode

Rob  00:08

All right, welcome back, everybody to The Slow Pitch. And I see Lane on the other side there, Lane. How you doing?

Lane  00:13

I’m doing great. Rob, how are you?

Rob  00:15

I’m doing well. Thank you. And so I understand we have another letter today we’re going to go through.

Lane  00:21

We do, we do. Yeah, it’s a little bit longer. So, we’re going to paraphrase a little bit, but we’ll get we’ll get through that.

Rob  00:26

All right, cool. What have we got?

Lane  00:27

So Jimmy wrote in with a question about a new client you’ve been working with, and whether or not he should lie to his client.

Rob  00:34

A salesperson, lie?

Lane  00:36

Yes, to close the sale.

Rob  00:38

Oh boy. Okay, here we go. Let’s go.

V/O  00:41

You’re listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less and closing more.

Rob  00:48

All right, so you said we have a letter or an email, I guess it was called a letter. But it’s an email that came in…

Lane  00:55

Yeah, you’re old school like that.

Rob  00:56

I know. Well, that’s what I would do. I would write somebody find the address, get a little paper envelope and write it all out? No. Okay. So that you got an email that says something about lying. So tell me what does it say?

Lane  01:06

So Jimmy wrote… So basically, Jimmy saying that he’s a sales rep. And he’s responsible for sourcing and closing new businesses in a fairly niche sector. And he’s been working with a good sized client for a few months. And if this deal closes, it would be really good for him. Great news. Yeah, his sales manager has been has been closely involved. But he’s the one Jimmy’s the one that’s been doing all the really all the work and building the trust the client, so they sent over a new contract, and the prospect came back with a sticking point, there’s a specific issue they have that they want an out for, and they’re asking if this particular issue happens, can I get out of this deal? So Jimmy goes back does all his homework checks with a sales manager and finds out legally…technically? No, the client is stuck. But the sales manager wants Jimmy to tell the client “Yeah, absolutely, you’ll be able to cancel the contract, no problem.”

Rob  01:55

Oh, my goodness.

Lane  01:56

His thinking being that it’s very low risk that virtually no chance of that particular scenario happening. So Jimmy is asking, you know, what do I do here? Do I tell the truth and risk getting my getting on my sales managers bad side? Or do I tell the prospect the truth?

Rob  02:12

That is interesting? I can’t imagine that ever happening out there in the real world, do you?

Lane  02:16

Oh, no, never, never heard of such a scenario.

Rob  02:19

No, I’ve never heard of a manager or anybody that’s in sales that has lied. I mean, first of all, does that ever happen to anybody sales?

Rob  02:26

No… what is your gut? Really? What is your gut telling you?

Lane  02:26


Lane  02:31

You know, I can understand logically, I can understand where the sales managers coming from, right? This is such a slim chance of this ever… this ever happening, just tell him, yeah, he’s going to be able to get out of it. You know, we want the money. Yep. But at the same time, man, that that’s a that’s a dangerous road to go down. I… Yeah. I just can’t imagine lying to any my clients like that.

Rob  02:52

Yeah, I mean, let me ask you this. If I was Jimmy, I have the choice of starting off a relationship signed contract relationship, because that’s what you’re starting, right? You start your relationship on a lie? How do you think that’s going to go fast forward when something bad happens? And they find out, they can’t get out of that? And I think we all know it inherently, that if that goes sideways, and even though the risk is really low? What does that? What’s that going to look like? One thing, obviously, the who was the potential client now, but the client then will be really upset and really frustrated, probably get legal involved, and try to find a way a loophole anyway. Right? They’re going to, they’re going to do and then fast forward that same timeframe on your side, you know, how do you feel as a salesperson, like, just imagine if you’re in that position? Fast forward? You’ve completely forgotten about it. And you’ve now been revisited… And you find out oh, no, that just caught up with me. Yep. If you’re the manager, and you’re being confronted by this client, what do you think the easiest out for the manager is?

Lane  03:51

Oh, well, I told him to tell you, you couldn’t get out of it. He lied to you.

Rob  03:56

And, what’s the next level of that? On top of that?

Lane  03:58

I don’t know. What are you thinking?

Rob  03:59

Well, what if? What if the manager was like I am? So, I am so frustrated by this. Jimmy can’t work here anymore. Yeah, we got to fire him because he lied. And that’s a serious lie. This is a lot of money. You guys paid us a lot of money. And if I fired him, well, that would that make things right with you guys?

Lane  04:15

Oh, well, the second it goes legal. Jimmy is fired anyway. So

Rob  04:19

Well, sure. But it’s really interesting. There’s a lot of scenarios that could play out. And I think just the how you would feel inside having done yet, just the one time is bad enough. But if you’ve been told to do that, and you’ve got other jobs that are potentially big ones, what’s going to stop you then once you’ve done it once and you’ve not gotten in trouble, we’ve not gotten caught. So, there could be several times where you’ve gotten into the situation in you just don’t even know how many times you’re going to get caught yet. And when it’s going to happen. That’s the first feeling that I have is like, well, that’s not good for anybody anywhere around. I think the real question comes out of this as when a potential buyer asks you a question like that, what is the real question here? What’s going on?

Lane  04:59

Clearly there there’s some risk that they can see and going down this road, and they want to make sure they can minimize that.

Rob  05:05

Yeah, they’re seeing something. And we don’t know what it is yet, right? Yep. To me. I think if I was Jimmy, I would offer I let me do some checking to find out, but I’m kind of curious. I mean, maybe we just quick roleplay it, let’s say I’m Jimmy, and you’re the client. And you told me, you know, hey, I want to get out of this out of this agreement. If I need to, if I this situation comes up. Maybe I just asked the question back. That’s very interesting question I can do some research on I’m just kind of curious. Why did you ask about that? What happened? And what do you have to do?

Lane  05:34

Yeah, that’s, that’s your identity and not knowing exactly what they’re worried about? It makes it more difficult. But you can dream up all sorts of scenarios where you got to sit back and really think about that. Okay, well, what is my risk? Why am I asking about this? What’s my exposure? So

Rob  05:50

Yeah, and I think, to me, anytime that I’ve had a situation like this come up before, and I’m not saying, I don’t get people asking me this type of question very often. But if there’s something similar like that, where it’s kind of like a boy, this could go either. I don’t even know what they’re asking me here. Because this is a really weird question. But it’s also got a lot of weight to it. If I ask that question back. That’s an interesting question. What you know, what’s making you ask that right now, I know where he to that point where you’d have to sign up. But what would be the reason what happened? Like, you must have something must be a reason you’re asking me that. And every time they’ll say, the last company that I worked with, and this is what happened, or whatever that scenario is that Jimmy ran into, he’s going to fight against that it whether you like it or not, he’s up against the battle with whatever happened with that last company. So, what Jimmy needs to do is understand that it’s not a whether or not they can get out. It’s a trust thing on top of it. And I think Jimmy needs to understand, I need to figure out what is the real reason they’re asking me that question. So, if I ask the question, why did you ask me and they come back with my previous company that I worked with they did XY and Z, and they got in trouble. And we needed to get out and blah, blah, blah, whatever their reason was, then a real quick and easy question back would be once they tell you that it’s like, okay, what do you what do you do? How likely is that do you think to happen again? I mean, you know, the warning signs now, you’ve seen you’ve been through it. How, what do you what, what makes you feel like, that’s something we’re going to do? I mean, we’ve run into this where other people have had this problem before. So, I get it. I know where you’re coming from I I’ve seen it. We’ve had to fix problems like this. So, help me understand what, what, what why do you see this happening with us? And like them explain it? And you know, what happens then is they go, you know, I don’t I don’t see it. I just ask him. I’m just curious.

Lane  07:28

Yeah, and I guess ultimately, if it’s, if it’s that big of an issue for them, maybe that gives you an opportunity to say okay, well, you know, assuming you haven’t talked pricing to tune into much depth, you can say okay, well, maybe we had 3% margin, maybe that’s enough risk for us to take to give them the out in the contract.

Rob  07:43

Yeah, well, yeah, you have that option, obviously, as well. But I think what’s happened is it’s also kind of interesting is that when they get to that point of I was just asking you, I’m just curious, it’s done. Because then you can just go Okay, and what other questions do you have, and then move on, that seemed to be a sticking point. And then it becomes not a sticking point. Because when you ask a few more questions, like, what made you think this? Or what made you see this? Or what do you why do you see this coming up? Have you had this happen before? Tell me about it? What happened? That kind of thing, once they know that you’ve heard them, and you’ve listened to what their problem was? And if you can respond with such a way that says, you know, I get it, I understand. Yeah, other last option you can always use is alright, let’s, let’s just pretend I can’t, I can’t do anything about it. There’s no way of getting out of that. That’s the way it is what happens now, yeah. And then their option is to say, well, that we’re not doing business. But if they’ve gone through all the time and effort to get to this point, they’re likely not going to say that they may just go you know, it’s probably fine, we’ll be fine. We’ll deal with it, then. That’s usually what ends up happening. It’s really weird. I don’t know why but, but just by asking the question, and then answering and listening to making sure you understand what they’re saying. And if I was Jimmy, I would be writing that in a note in their, in their folder file, wherever you want to call it, in the system that you have, so that everybody understands these people have been burned, they’re going to be very critical upfront. So, we’re going to need to handhold we’re going to need to make sure they’re ready…to make sure their understanding of what’s going on. And they’re comfortable moving to the next step, every step of the way, in the very beginning. Once they get past that, they’re going to go, you guys are fantastic, way better than we were at a deal with before. And that that starts to relieve that feeling of discomfort that they may have in the very beginning of your process. So what especially once they sign the contract, so just understand that, you know, asking a couple of critical questions at that moment, you have to be ready for that question to come up at any time because if you’re not prepared, it’ll surprise you and you’re not sure what to say. But weird questions come up so often that my time-buyer… I buy time by asking the question well, that’s interesting. I’ve never had anybody asked me that question. Tell me what what’s going on with that? And it just buys me time because I’m like, What the heck where did this come from? And now I’ve got time to think a little bit but they’re explaining themselves even more because I thought I need to answer question A but it was actually questioned C that I didn’t…or had no idea what they’re asking. So those questions back make a huge difference. And what was the other thing that you think, Lane, that he did wrong? Right in the middle of that whole paragraph that I that you read there, is there anything that you saw that was glaring to you,

Lane  10:04

He went back to a sales manager.

Rob  10:08

Sales Manager, and I was obviously, never helpful, right. But if you’re a salesperson, you have a sales manager, you know, most times they don’t look at it that way is that they’re very helpful. But the other question you could ask, and I don’t find this to be quite as effective. But you know, I went back to the research, I asked the sales manager, what do you think my, what do you think my boss said, when they got that question? What do you think their response would have been?

Lane  10:30

That… That’s interesting to throw back at the client.

Rob  10:33

Yeah. Because I mean, one of the one of the clients goes, well, they’re probably not very happy. Why? Why do you think they weren’t very happy? Well, I mean, here he is somebody that’s getting ready to sign and all of a sudden, they want a way out? Yeah. I mean…

Lane  10:48

Are we are we actually close or not? Yeah,

Rob  10:50

Yeah. And I think the other thing is, you follow that up with, listen, it’s not. It’s nothing major, nothing bad. Here’s the thing, though, we have to decide whether or not we want to work with clients that it’s a trust thing, we it’s a trust on both sides. And so, I get where you’re coming from. And we’re going to work really hard to make sure we don’t lose that trust from you. That’s what we do. But we also have to have the other way. And so, if you’re not comfortable, I don’t want to push, I do not want to push you into this, this is your decision. 100%. And by doing that, you’re forcing them to make the decision. And if you’re out of their way, which is what you’re doing, you’re getting out of their way for making that decision. Their logical or their, their fastest answer is usually going to be, that’s fine. We’re fine with it. Let’s just go forward. And then at that point, you should be asking, Are you sure? Because I’m serious, I don’t want to …. because you want to make sure that they’re very solid. They’re not just saying it just to get you off their back. Right? Yeah. It’s really about getting out of their way from making the decision and giving them the out. Anybody out there? I mean, you have a cat Lane, right? You have a cat? Yep. And what happens if you try to go after the cat, get it? Give it its medicine? Or give it some good? No, here we go grab the cat to put it in the cage. Do you bring it to the vet? Oh, yeah. Yeah, they run away? Yep. Yeah. They just like, no, I don’t want it. I don’t want to do that. But if you sit down, guess who comes to you? Yeah, the cat. It’s, it’s, that’s what the clients are like, or potential clients are like, you have to think of it as they have to come to you let them work through their process, asking the questions, work them through it, let them make their decision, because you’re not going to force the decision that anytime you think you’re going to force their decision, you’ve lost it. That’s the simplest way I can put it. That’s how I look at it. But also, in the middle of that whole conversation. I think that they wrote out, they sent them the email with a contract. And that should have been a conversation that they had in person, right? Yeah.

Lane  12:30

Yep. So I kind of thought that’s where you’re going to go when you asked me what they did wrong. Oh, they sent they sent over contract.

Rob  12:35

Yeah, that’s where you can work out some of those questions, because they’ll ask those questions then. Versus now they’ve read the contract. And now you’re like, caught off guard? And you’re not quite ready to answer that question. But if you walked in with that document, the likelihood of that asking coming up during that presentation, if you will, while you’re talking together, particularly when you walk in with the attitude of our when we get through this presentation or this information, we’re looking to try to make some decision one way or the other, either, you’re going to tell me, Hey, this is not a deal. And that’s okay. Or you’re going to tell me this is going to be a deal. And here’s what we’re doing next. Whether it’s a need to process it through this, we need to get you to your insurance, that whatever that might be. All those things have to happen first, fine, we all know our next steps. But without that, that wouldn’t happen if you’re just emailing it. And that shouldn’t that should never happen. But we’ve talked about that. But not everybody seems to know that I wish we had more people that would catch on to that it just doesn’t seem to catch on. I don’t know why. I think that was pretty straightforward. And I think that was one of those questions that I got a lot of complicated answers, a lot of moving parts to it, and things that could, you could do a whole bunch of different things with, but I think the simplest one is to keep that in the clients, hands. That’s their problem, not yours. And don’t take on somebody else’s problem, right? And if you can do that, and let them work through it, you have to think of yourself as kind of like, you know, if you ever go to a psychologist or a therapist, you have a problem and you start asking them what to do. What do they ask you back?

Lane  14:03

Yeah, they just ask you questions.

Rob  14:04

Yeah, yeah. It’s like, okay, well, you’re not you’re not helping me here. No, they are. They’re helping you work through your own issue, right. It’s the same thing with sales. And it’s the same way all the way through. So hopefully that helps everybody. And we’ll see everybody next time and until then, Slow Down and Close More.

V/O  14:19

Thank you for listening to The Slow Pitch. Do you have a question about sales? Call or text your question at (608) 708-SLOW, that’s (608) 708-7569 or you can email them to Slow Down and Close More.

Rob  14:59

So hopefully that helps everybody and next time and just arm wrestle them until you get the deal closed. Next time when they ask you that question, just tell them they’re stupid. Exactly. Yeah. What are they thinking? Stupid…What am I, a lawyer?

Lane  15:17

I only play one on TV.

Rob  15:19

That’s right.

Rob  15:30

Thanks as always for listening today. If you’d liked this podcast, please subscribe, and leave us a review. We really appreciate it. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at TheSlowPitch. We were mixed today as always by Johnny Polakis. And we were produced by High Gravity Studios. Music credits and other notes are in the show notes section on, And we’ll be back with another episode soon.

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