I asked my three year old grandson the other day (proud photo inserted), how many cookies did he eat? I told him he could have two. He answered very quickly that he had eaten three, and held up three fingers.
Now let me ask you:
1. How much do you weigh?
2. What’s your college grade point average?
3. How far did you run?
A lot of people answering these questions tend to minimize their weight, inflate their grade points, or say they ran 5 miles when they only actually ran 4.4 miles. Why is this and what does this have to do with marketing or sales?
We tend to live in a world that values appearance or image more than truth. None of the three questions I asked can really be verified easily. They also don’t seem very important, and the consequences of exaggerating don’t seem to hurt anyone. Some would call exaggerating answers to these little white lies.
In marketing and in sales, we are often responsible for appearance, and we often have the opportunity to tell little white lies. For example: “We’re the leading vendor of XYZ.” (When we forgot to add… in the five state region). “We’ll be able to deliver that service by the 15th.” (When we know it won’t be until the 1st)
Of course the issue is that there are difficulties in determining the boundaries between a small exaggeration and a bigger exaggeration, and we seem to easily slide into…
- “You don’t really need a down payment, you qualify for the loan.”
- “These real-estate derivatives are rock solid.”
- “You can’t go wrong.”
You don’t really need a lecture on telling the truth. But sometimes we forget that telling the truth, even what I call “Micro Truths”, helps build trust. And in marketing and sales, this is the single biggest factor in whether someone does business with us.
Telling a Micro-Truth is sometimes harder than it seems. Try answering the small questions with your own personal Micro-Truth next time. For example, “Why were you late to the meeting?” Answer simply, “I just forgot,” rather than, “I was on the phone.” Take responsibility. See what happens. People will trust you more.
I just read a survey that said that only 30% of Americans trust corporations. Marketing and sales own this problem. So tell me… how many moons of Jupiter were discovered on your shift?
Do Great Things.
Prairie Sky Group
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