A fellow who bills himself as an industry marketing expert recently sent me an email. It was a very well put together, nice-looking offer to procure more than 200 marketing ideas. To learn them all, I had to provide him with my contact information.
This guy made a critical error, from my perspective. He sent three of his marketing ideas as a teaser. Two of the three advocated dishonesty to get prospects attention. They weren’t whopping lies, just a little shy of 100 percent true.
It reminded me of another a marketing shady technique that an agent once shared with me. He had recently learned it himself and was excited about his success using it. Even though he had made sales using this method, I told him that I would never use it or advocate its use. He was shocked and asked why. I told him that my integrity was not for sale and by using dishonest tactics to make money was not worth the price of success.
A White Lie is Still a Lie
That’s because a “white lie” is still a lie. This is why I could never be a politician. It seems that they have become extremely skilled at the untrue. That behavior has contributed to a culture in which it now seems acceptable to be dishonest — as long as the outcome is positive. After all, if everyone involved is better off, why not use a little fib now and then?
Here’s why: It is just not necessary. Lying is for losers who win by cheating. The outcome is bittersweet. Consider that:
- Water that is almost good, is not good.
- A marriage that is almost good, is not good.
- A kid who is almost good, is not a good kid.
An insurance agent who is almost good, is not, and being only slightly dishonest doesn’t help. It may put money in the agent’s pocket, but it’s still not a good thing. I was once told by a very high-producing agent that if he were just a little dishonest, he could increase his income significantly. When asked why he didn’t do that, he said it wasn’t worth the loss of integrity. He also said that he felt being dishonest caused more problems than he wanted to handle.
It takes time to apologize and fix problems caused by dishonesty. Dishonesty also spills into other areas by affecting your relationships and quality-of-life.
Prospecting should follow these same rules. Don’t offer what you can’t deliver. Much of what we offer is sometimes said to be too good to be true anyway. That’s enough to prove. You can’t prove that which is not true. You can only do what the politicians do . . . change the subject, like a sleight of hand. Maybe their constituents won’t notice?
Recently, while interviewing a prospective employee, I asked the young man a question. He proceeded to discuss something totally unrelated to my question. I asked again, and got the same results. So I didn’t hire him, because I couldn’t trust him. Our clients are hiring us to work for them. They must be able to trust us.
Don’t “Selectively” Disclose
I’ve met those who like to “selectively” disclose information about a product that has negative features, and only at the right time, after the sale is won. How does the client feel later when he discovers the truth? He may just keep the product, but he will not be happy and may say bad things about you.
I can honestly attest to having lost sales by disclosing all of the features of a product. In the mind of the prospect, I failed to make my case. Maybe I just needed to improve my presentation. If the product is good for the client, the client will likely buy it. If not, maybe it’s the wrong client, or the wrong product. I always blame myself for losing a sale. I’m the culprit. It won’t help to fudge by being dishonest. I just need to improve.
There are great products available to offer prospective clients. They work well with all of their good parts and seemingly apparent flaws. So, why not tell the prospect what to expect? If the product is truly good and the concept is sound, then the sale will be made and the agent’s integrity will be intact, creating future sales with good clients.
Some agents wonder why they don’t get referrals. Maybe it’s because they don’t appear to be completely trustworthy.