Do Sales and Marketing Tactics Cause Customer Lies?

I'm involved in a conversation on the Hubspot Partners Forum on LinkedIn. The original question was "Increasing lead to customer conversion rate: any HubSpot trade secrets?".

The conversation has talked about TOFU, MOFU, BOFU. It's talked about enticing readers to trade their contact information for more usable content. It's talked about using smart forms (which are very cool) to gradually coax a prospect down the funnel to the point where we feel comfortable asking them if they want to buy.

Have you ever...

  • had someone give you a fake email address on a form?
  • had someone enter abc as their first name and xyz as their last name?
  • gotten 123-456-7890 as a lead's phone number?

Just saying, the contact info may not be real.

Why do people do that? Maybe the content you're offering isn't enough to earn their trust and this lack of trust is well deserved? Why do we have laws against "Bait and Switch"? Because it happens.

I worked in door to door sales when the "cooling off period" was invented and enacted into law. Why? Because salespeople used high pressure and "first call specials".

I worked in debt collection for 20 years. The "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" was created because debt collectors routinely lied to and/or tricked debtors.

There are other examples, but these will allow me to make my point. It doesn't matter whether the offenders are in the majority or the minority. What does matter is that your reader, your prospect may not be able to tell whether you are or not and that causes lawmakers to step in and protect the potential victims.

It's been suggested that the buyer completes 60-ish% of their buying process before they ever talk to a salesperson, but do they ever WANT to talk to a salesperson? Would they prefer to buy without EVER talking to anyone? Good question.

I'm in sales and just last week, I bought my airline tickets for my vacation and booked the hotel without ever talking to anyone. However, when I paid my all-inclusive fee, I wanted to talk to someone to make sure that I was included in the promotion. I didn't really want to talk to anybody, but I felt like I needed to to assure the promotion. I traded my credit card number and allowed Ed to charge $2,763 because I wanted to know immediately that I got what I wanted. Caution, trust issue, caveat emptor, whatever.

So, I'd like to close with my last comment in the LinkedIn discussion.

I'd like to add to John's comment, but I need to start with my mindset. There are some that believe that prospects and leads can be tricked into becoming customers and clients. Maybe, but they won't like being tricked and the more transparent the world becomes the harder it will be to trick them and even if you do trick them, they won't stay and they'll never become evangelists. As a matter of fact, they may start saying things like, "They have great stuff, but you can't trust them." So, I teach that we as salespeople and marketers have to help the reader 'WANT TO'. Want to give us their REAL email address. Want to give us their REAL name. Want to give us their phone number and want to talk with us. When Frank Belzer and I were working together, he once said that his favorite close was when the prospect asked, "So, how do we get started?"

So, think about your process. Is it designed around what you want or what they want?

What do you think?

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