Tom Sweeney

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Posts Tagged ‘Interviews’

Sales, Lies, and Interviews

Posted by sweens on May 19, 2011

These two articles have been floating around my office today and I couldn’t not share…

Sales, Lies, and Interviews

by Eliot Burdett on December 9, 2007 in Ethics in Sales


Peak does a lot of interviews with salespeople. I mean a lot – tens of thousands a year. The bulk of candidates with whom we meet are ambitious, capable, diligent, accomplished professionals, but from time to time, we come across those who would rather bend the truth than embrace the truth. Some become deceivingly good at it and if it weren’t for a series of useful tests and tricks we employ, they might slip through our process undetected. Luckily it is easy to spot most liars since they overconfidently assume they are smarter than the rest of us and that no one is on to them – arrogance is usually pretty easy to catch.

So I thought I would share the five most common lies we hear in interviews and what they actually mean.

1. I was laid off but it had nothing to do with my performance. Real meaning – My previous employer didn’t feel I performed well enough to keep me on the team, but was kind enough to lay me off rather than fire me. It is almost always about performance and employers rarely part with a performer without a fight. (Related lie – I was on contract and left because the contract ended.)

2. I can’t use my previous manager as a reference because I am not sure where they are now. Real meaning – we didn’t have a strong relationship when we worked together and still don’t. Previous employers offer significant insight into what it is like to employ a candidate.

3. I wasn’t able to be successful at my last company because the company didn’t support the sales team. Real meaning – I need the sun, moon and stars to line up in order for me to make a sale. Top performers let nothing get in the way of closing business and don’t have time for excuses.

4. My career is not about the money. Real meaning – I don’t know how to negotiate. Businesses exist to make profits and people work for money. Anyone who says it isn’t about the money probably doesn’t have much. It is always about the money.

5. I worked for my wife’s pet grooming business for a year and a half. Real meaning – I interviewed for a year and a half, but couldn’t find employment, so I have put my wife’s home business on my resume to fill the gap. This lie is not a lie if candidate successfully closed a shiitake load of business and made his wife a millionaire.

If you have other lies you have seen, please send them along and I will be happy to share them with our readers.


Top 10 Dumb Lies Reps Tell Managers

Contrary to what many people think, sometimes it’s OK to lie to the boss.  After all, your manager is lying to you about salaries, layoffs, office politics, etc..  Since that’s the nature of the business world, you have the ethical right to lie in return if it serves your career.  (Example: lying about taking the morning off to interview for another job.)  Even so, there are a set of lies that sales reps tell their sales managers that most sales managers know are bogus.  Here they are:

  • LIE #10: Budget is not an issue with this customer.  Truth: budget is always an issue.
  • LIE #9: These are all qualified opportunities.  Truth: Some must be more qualified than others.
  • LIE #8: It’s a qualified lead, but they have no money.  Truth: No money means they’re not qualified.
  • LIE #7: I have all the important customer notes in my head.  Truth: I’m too lazy to write them down.
  • LIE #6: I entered all the details in our CRM system.  Truth: You entered the minimum required.
  • LIE #5: I am working from home this morning.  Truth: Yeah, right.
  • LIE #4: I made 100 cold calls today.  Truth: You made some calls, but probably not THAT many.
  • LIE #3: I don’t cold call because it is not a good way to generate new business.  Truth: You don’t cold call because you hate cold calling.
  • LIE #2: These new leads just advanced right before this funnel review meeting, so I don’t have all the details.  Truth: You’re not on top of your accounts.
  • LIE #1: I expect to hit my quota, but as luck would have it, most of my customers will be making a decision in the last week of the quarter.  Truth: You’re praying that something will close by then.

READERS: Is this the right list?  What else should be on it?

By the way, the idea for this list (and most of the contents) came from observations about real-world sales behavior by Peak Sales Recruiting, a company that, in the words of one executive, is a “passionate defender of ethics in the sales profession.”

The remarks about being allowed to lie, though, are IMHO.  Or rather, to be truthful, they’re an opinion I borrowed from Scott Adams, who pointed out during an interview that if a company asks you to work unpaid overtime, you are within your rights to use some of that time to create your own business.

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