I have found in my sales career, which spans over 30 years, a direct and honest approach has always been more effective than any other tactic.
When you engage with a customer or prospect, it’s always better to tell them exactly how it is – as opposed to lying or exaggerating to the prospect to get the sale. Sometimes, the best answer is “I am sorry, we are not a match for you in this case.”
I have always acted like I was a paid consultant whose job was to find the best solution for the problem, and if that solution meant that the client was better off buying from someone else, I would tell them. Often this approach has led to a good, long term relationship with the client who wants to do business with me because they trust me.
It’s also better to LISTEN to what the prospect is saying they want or what their “pain” is and then adjust your sales presentation to meet their needs. I’ve seen it in too many places, where a slick-talking sales rep rams his pitch down the prospect’s throat, even when half of it is not even addressing their needs. Then he wonders why he didn’t make the sale. They will tell the customer exactly what they want to hear, even if that is not something they can deliver, just to make the sale. Then later, (if they did make the sale), they hope the client never notices that they lied. This is a dangerous footing, as the truth will always show its head.
This is not that surprising in a commission-driven world. When a customer finds out the truth, what then? You are setting that customer up for a negative consumer experience. Plus you have lost all credibility, and future orders will be in jeopardy.
An honest approach is always better, right from the start. Moreover, because so few sales reps are honest, when you are, it stands out, and it is easy to gain trust with the clients quickly.