Amanda is a comedy writer. The articles she writes here are meant to be fun, only somewhat information and completely funny. As with anything in life, don't take them too seriously.

Since the beginning of time, professionals in the sales industry have had a reputation of being slimy, underhanded, sleazy liars. To put it lightly, of course.There's actually a good historical reason why sales reps have this reputation - it turns out "snake oil" was actually sold using some pretty underhanded tactics back in the 1800's.

So it’s no wonder prospects are often rude during a cold call or follow-ups. How often do you hear excuses from a potential client explaining why they can’t talk? They are

  • “driving...,”
  • “waiting for another call…,”
  • “talking to their dying aunt on the other line...,”
  • or there’s always the, “nothanksnotinterestedpleasedon’tcallhereagain.”

Even though you’ve done nothing wrong, that feeling of being shut down and hung up on, hurts. We’re talking fourth-grade-monkey-bars-humiliation-we-still-can’t-even-talk-about-it degree of hurt. So, in an effort to avoid repeatedly hearing a dial tone when all you want to do is share valuable information and close that sale, we surveyed a bunch of chronically annoyed people. Our hope was to turn insights into data which specifically pinpoint a list of ways to come across as an honest person. Whether you are honest already, or need some help faking honesty, print this list out, laminate it, don't spill coffee on it (like you do everything else) and memorize it.

Honesty 101

Okay, here are a few pointers for you, me, and the rest of us in sales.

1. “It’s not about the money…”

As a sales person, it’s always about money. So even if you really truly love the product or service you’re selling, don’t tell people you’re not in it for the money. Everyone from the hot dog vendor on 5th Avenue to the Kardashians are in it for the money. If you say it isn’t, you will come across as a liar.

2. “Let me be honest…”

Please! Be honest! Your potential clients want you to be nothing but honest. However, if you have to remind them that you’re about to be honest, they will wonder if you haven’t been up until that point. It’s like randomly saying, “I would never pee in a swimming pool.” No one was even thinking you would pee in a pool, but since you said that out of the blue, it’s making everyone wonder.

3. “With all due respect…”

The best way to be respectful is to not say that.

4. “I may be wrong, but…”

C'mon, you are 99.99999% sure that you are right and that caveat isn’t fooling anyway. Nobody who thinks they are wrong ever says, “I may be wrong…”

5. “I can’t say…”

If someone asks you how long the sale will be going on, or if you expect the same price to be available tomorrow, be honest. You’ll surprise your customers if you pull a John Mayer and “say what you need to say.”

6. “You’re wasting my time…”

Ok, don’t be that honest. Even though the person probably is wasting your time, don’t let them know that in so many words. They will write a bad review about your company and try to get you fired.

Another thing to keep in mind is that none of these things should be said in an email aka The Paper Trail of Doom. What’s that rule again? Only say something in an email that you would be okay with having your grandmother read. Most grandmothers would not only read it but print it out and share it with their quilt circle. So you’re best bet is to just be honest, you’ll really throw people!

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