Monthly Archives: January 2012

Never Bluff

Salesman-Bluffing or Lying

This is what my boss said to me when I first started in sales – by way of advice and also as a caution. I must admit, at the time, I thought it a little strange. Naturally I was someone who would never do such thing because I would always make sure I knew and understood 100% what it was I was selling, my innate honesty acting as a check against any wild promises or fraudulent claims.

Of course, it didn’t take long to value the advice. As soon as I was out in the field and engaging with customers, I found they would ask all sorts of questions and make all kinds of demands as part of the buying game. And being real life, I had to come up with some genuine solutions which we could deliver.

As someone who trains in presentation skills as well as in selling, I have found the Leveson Inquiry (full title Inquiry into the Culture Practice and Ethics of the Press) fascinating viewing and I will happily listen to repeated excerpts on the radio having already watched them live. The fascination is in spotting when witnesses are bluffing (or lying) and at which points. It’s always pretty obvious. Repeated viewings and listenings reward me with the chance of a closer study of body language and that subtle change of tone or tightening of the voice people have when they are not entirely comfortable with what they’re saying. The witnesses appearing at Leveson, many of whom are media experts themselves, should understand that it’s never worth bluffing – or lying – unless you are supremely good at it. And even then, they try it at their peril.