Kamikaze Sales – Beginning with a Lie

Starting a business relationship (or attempting to start any relationship) with a lie is…well a lot of things…misguided being the least of those things.  What lie?  You know the lie – the appointment you don’t really have.  The lie told to get in the door of the “decision-maker” or to get by the “gatekeeper”.  The foot-in-the-door lie. The lie “Hi, I have an appointment booked with Mr. or Ms. “Big” and just need some information to get prepared for the meeting.”  Okay you may think the use of the word “lie” is too harsh or too strong, but a lie by any other name still doesn’t smell sweet.

This lie gets you through the telephone gateway to another part of the organization that believes they are being directed to provide you with time and information to support that important meeting.  You are representing that you are already doing business with their organization or have at least past a major screening hurdle to get that appointment with “Big”.  I’ve heard the defense of this strategy.  Everything from “All’s fair.” to “It’s their responsibility to check.” to “Nothing else works.”

The “Nothing else works” is a result of past sales practices which have led to the closing of many doors and opportunities.  As more and more people engage in the process of misrepresenting the relationships they have established, this “tactic” will also become ineffective.  The increasing use of electronic calendars will make it a routine matter to verify that the “appointment” does or doesn’t exist.  Then what happens?

Making a sale isn’t a point-in-time occurrence.  Making a sale is a process which takes time.  It takes building relationships and credibility.  It takes making a connection with prospective clients and being honest with them about your products, services, and technology.  You may make a one-time sale today by getting in the door, but what happens when the truth that you don’t know “Big” surfaces?  Are you looking for a one-time sale or a long-term relationship of recurring sales?

Whether we are conditioned through the media, through “gurus” of selling, or through “common practices” we seem to think more and more about what is happening today and today only.  The sale we make today is our complete focus.  When we make it, we move on to making the next sale.  With this mentality we lose sight of the reality that it is easier to make repeat sales to satisfied customers than to be out trying to make that next new connection, build that new relationship, and make a new sale.

The emphasis on today often leads to the sacrifice of even bigger sales and bigger results that come from dealing honestly and fairly with our existing and prospective client bases.  The relationship that starts out with “what can you do for the customer” (and not with “let me get to them by fair means or foul”) is one that has a higher return on investment over the life of the business than that one time “Big” deal today.  Deal honestly from day one.  Get in the door with integrity and get the business without deception.

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