8 lies a salesman likes to tell

Posted on April 14th, 2014 by

death of a salesman - arthur miller

There’s an old joke: “How can you tell when a salesperson is lying? Their lips are moving”.

Salesman have something of a reputation of being economical with the truth, and not all of it undeserved. Cliched jokes aside though, we’ve put together a list of 8 phrases that should put you on your guard:

“We’re the only company that can provide this solution”

Really? Do your homework. Its very rare that they will be the only providers in the marketplace with this offering. Ask them who they see as their competitors and ask to see their copyright.

“We just have one left and this is the price!”

This is just a mechanism to avoid discounting. Don’t believe this, walk away – If it is that popular, why have they not sold out completely?

 “Our rates may be slightly higher but it includes the best service there is to offer in the market”

Statements like this are easy to make and are more often than not just fluff. Look to see if there’s clear differentiation in their offering, check SLAs etc. Is there any tangible difference?

 “If you sign the contract today, we can start tomorrow”

Never be rushed into signing a contract. Take the time you need to make sure the solution is right for you. Ask them to do a trial first on an interim basis to ensure they can deliver.

“You will have a dedicated account manager”

Yes, you probably will, but they will also likely manage another 60 contracts. Find out how big their other accounts are and where in the pecking order your contract sits?

“Your stealing away all my margin!”

This is a time-honoured howl from salesman everywhere. The truth is, if you were, he wouldn’t be doing business with you: keep squeezing!

“Our contract is nearing the end and we want to continue our business relationship, however, we must raise our rates due to the economic fluctuations, and we did take a big hit over the last year in order to prove we do want to be part of your growing business. We’ve spent a long time looking into ways to avoid the increase so have come up with the following, it is the best we can do.”

A long, over-detailed explanation is a big indicator that the message you’re receiving isn’t the truth. This almost certainly isn’t the best they can do!

“I will go back to my Director and see if there is anything else we can do”

A technique particularly beloved of the car industry, getting an ‘extra special’ deal approved by the boss is a great way of persuading you that you’re getting a bargain, or a way for the salesman to avoid taking responsibility for saying ‘no’. If you’re struggling to get what you want, ask to speak to the decision maker.


If you’d like to learn how to develop better buying strategies, negotiate more effectively or just avoid falling into salesmen’s traps, SpringTide offer a range of courses that can be tailored to perfectly suit you.

Contact us now on 0333 9000 350 or just drop us a line here and we’ll show you how you can buy more efficiently.

Are there phrases you commonly hear that we haven’t listed? Or have you been told a ludicrous lie that you just have to share? Let us know below.