Overselling – What Salespeople Do

I have appeared in several cities over the last two weeks and in just about every introduction, even when my hosts had my bio in their hands, they overstated, or incorrectly stated my accomplishments.  I heard them say I wrote for Fortune Magazine. One mentioned that I was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine. All of them said my books, Mindless Selling, and Baseline Selling, were best-sellers.   All of those statements are incorrect.  Articles featuring me have appeared in Inc. Magazine, Selling Power Magazine, Incentive Magazine and Sales & Marketing Management. and I didn’t write any of those articles.  Baseline Selling has been at the top of Amazon’s charts on and off since it’s debut in March but it can’t be called a best-seller until 10,000 copies have been sold.  Mindless Selling hasn’t reached 10,000 copies in 5 years!  I cringe when hosts overstate the facts because it reflects badly, not well, on me.

Salespeople have been making claims and promises for centuries.  One of the oldest groups of salespeople, those who have been peddling religious beliefs for centuries, still make claims about which people are the chosen ones, who will be saved, sacrifices that must be made, who are the infidels, who are the most righteous, etc.

Salespeople make claims about warranties, guarantees, refunds, inclusions, features, capabilities, and prices.  They make claims about reliability, service, response time and up time.  They promise the world to get the business.

But why?  Why aren’t salespeople confident enough that the truth will be enough to make the sale?  Why don’t they believe that their prospects will buy the product or service as it is?  Why do they feel they must embellish everything to make the sale?

We can list a number of powerful reasons; they don’t believe the product is as good as their competitor’s; they don’t believe the price point is set fairly; they don’t believe their relationship is as strong as an incumbent’s; they don’t believe the prospect is leaning in their direction; they’re not confident in their own ability to sell or persuade; or, they’re wired to exaggerate – it’s what they always do – they’re liars.

I’ve worked with thousands of salespeople and I don’t believe that most of them lie.  I do believe that most of them make claims and promises they can’t keep though.  And I believe that it’s their Need for Approval – their need to be liked – that causes them to engage in this unnecessary practice.

How many of your salespeople have Need for Approval and what can you do about it?  Let OMG help you understand this issue more completely.