Honesty Is Essential
When was the last time you told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to your prospects or customers? Did you, by any chance, somewhat embellish your website, mentioning that maybe you did a project you didn’t actually do? Or put a logo on your site of a company you didn’t actually work for? Or mention that you had a specific skill when a prospect asked for it but then later wondered why you never got the business? Or put a skill on your resume that you never actually had, figuring that they would never check for it? The fact is, you can’t hide anymore.
In the past, maybe you could “get away” with, let’s call it, enhancing the truth. Telling a few white lies in your sales material. Sure, you say – everyone does it – everyone says that they can do XYZ when they really can’t, but can find someone to do XYZ before the prospect finds out that you can’t do it. Or maybe you said one thing and did another, or fudged some figures, hoping that no one would find out. Or acted like you knew what you were doing, even if you didn’t. You figured that bravado and a little overt confidence could fool people into thinking you knew what you were doing. Even if you didn’t.
Here’s the thing. If you’ve been following the VW scandal, you’ll note that everyone in the organization who knew what was going on thought they could just get away with it. And maybe, years ago, they might have been able to before the internet.
Not anymore. The internet has become the world’s largest fact-checking operation, and most of it, amateurs who simply pieced things together from data they were able to uncover themselves. Remember the Bush National Guard scandal? While the VW scandal was uncovered by a US testing operation at West Virginia University, it was entirely possible that anyone, anywhere, could have come to the same conclusion if they did some digging. The tools out there will allow nearly anyone to uncover any lie, expose any “embellishment.” You can’t really lie anymore and expect to get away with it.
The fact is, you can’t run, and you can’t hide. There is no longer any safe harbor for liars and cheats. No matter what you say or do, if you lie to your customers and prospects, they will find out. You can no longer hide your inconvenient facts behind a curtain of sales and marketing speak.
Since you can’t really lie anymore, why don’t you try something new, like honesty? Why can’t you simply just tell your prospects exactly what you can and cannot do? After all, it’s been proven that your customer is 60% of the way towards buying from you before they even connect with you. If you tell people you can do XYZ, be sure that you can really do XYZ and that you are awesome at XYZ. And when they ask if you can also do ABC, resist the urge to say, “sure, we can do that.” Have the guts to be truthful, authentic, and real; just say no.
Honesty is no longer just the best policy; it’s the only policy.