Marketing. Negotiation. It’s Ok To Lie?

HandcuffedMany people writing in the online literature seem to advocate that, in marketing and in negotiation, it is ok to lie in order to get the sale, or get the project or get the contract. They might not say it so explicitly, but things like “over-promising” so as to “get the sale” and then “worry about delivery later” emanate like some foul-smelling decay from the posts I have read. I stop reading many of them at that stage.

What is lying? Simple. Not being truthful. What is truthfulness? It is defined by Character First! as “Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts.” I really like the Character First! definitions of character qualities. They are really concise and straight to the point. How do I accurately report past facts? By making sure that I acquaint myself thoroughly with them before I say or write anything. That is a tall order, of course, and we will not always succeed at it, but it is a worthy endeavour indeed.

So, in marketing, ought we to say that we care about our customers’ health and well-being when all we want to do is sell them some product that provides some great positive effects and many negative ones? Do we offer goods that seem to show much promise but already have dark clouds looming on the horizon, health-wise? When we are negotiating, do we claim that we can give them the sun, moon and stars, and hope that we can blame our errant suppliers when we fail to deliver?

Looking at the literature, it seems to me that this is rampant. What is your stand on this, are you ready to stop the rot and turn it around? Do remember one thing, though. When truthfulness becomes our hallmark, we won’t need to remember so many lies and we can use our freed-up brainpower for Bettering Our Businesses!

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