The “Lie” Sales Technique

I was a victim of the “lie” sales technique the other day and it pissed me off.

I pulled into a gas station to fill up. While I was standing next to my car, a young man about 25 years old walked up to me with a squeegee and said today was customer appreciation day and they were washing everyones windshields for free. As he washed my windshield he went on about how customer service was a lost art and how companies don’t provide the service they once did. He was an affable guy, energetic, and engaging. I could care less if my windshield was clean, but I thought it was a nice gesture of the gas station. I had to agree with him, it was pleasant to see a company do something just because.

But, then he said it . . . “I see you have a crack in your windshield right, did you know that?”

Suddenly, I realized it was not customer appreciation day. The gas station wasn’t be altruistic. He was selling windshield repair.  Unbelievable! His story was a ploy to get a look at my windshield and sell me on repairing it. The “lie” sales technique strikes!

The “lie” sales technique is akin to slight of hand. A lie is told to capture a person’s interest. Once the person is hooked they move in to push their stuff.  The “lie” is a disarming, altruistic, story or offer that appears to benefit the person. It almost always appears void of a hook. The lie is rarely attached to an offer to buy or any type of customer commitment. That always comes later, after the prospect has been drawn in. It’s meant to keep the prospect from recognizing they are being sold until later in the engagement. The “lie” sales technique is designed to create engagement on a false pretense, thus trapping a prospect in the sales process. Prospects are denied the ability to enter into the selling dialogue willingly.

I despise deceptive sales techniques. They erode trust. They undermine the sales profession. They make selling difficult for everyone else. Clearly they must work, because people keep doing it, but I can’t stand it.

Selling through lying is not selling. It’s just lying.

I like to offer a message to companies and sales people who employ this technique. STOP! Sell with integrity, it always works out in the end.


Two days later I pulled up to another service station and a young man walked up to me and said; “Today is customer appreciation day, we are washing windshields for free . . .”  You don’t want to know what I said to him, I wasn’t very nice.

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