I recall with fondness a sales manager of mine, when just starting out many years ago, that urged sharing the worst-case scenario on a sale with a prospect at the earliest possible moment. His reasoning was that the later such negative emerged, the more devastating it’d be to your cause. With prospects so unused to such honesty, your relationship would instantly, positively solidify.
So here’s a tale of buying a car I found myself closely involved with recently. The person who’s car was purchased probably didn’t have the ‘best’ one. But critically, from the word go they outlined what was wrong with it. I gather that the only other person of around ten that came close to a deal (who sold theirs before the buyer made a decision) also employed the same approach of early downside exposure.
Of the other sellers, I was horrified at some of the stunts they tried to pull. Here’s some I personally witnessed:
- not mentioning a defect, or dismissing possible defects, only to be shown up as a blatant liar when checked out with manufacturer service centres
- making completely false statements on their initial pitch, only to belittle the fact when face-to-face (such as making the car younger or with way less miles on the clock)
- and the most outrageous, when the car was primed as impossible to miss out on, it stalled on the lot only to signal an incredible stand-up quality routine on how that didn’t matter.
So on reflection, I think my old boss was right. If you handle any potential bad news well, the deal inevitably becomes yours to lose.