As a writer and a marketer it has always amazed me that some businesses routinely lie to sell their products or services.
Okay… lie is perhaps a bit strong. Maybe it would be more accurate to use the word ‘overstate’ or ‘exaggerate’.
For instance, I know of a particular product which is fairly new to the consumer market, where there are a number of players and some of them really stretch things in order to make a quick sale.
To explain what I mean, let me give you some specifics.
The product is whole body vibration platforms. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about what it is and what it does except to say that it truly is amazing technology. If you’re interested in learning more check out http://www.wholebodyvibrationsystem.com which has a fair bit of information on the subject.
This technology is great for a number of things including weight loss. But like any exercise, it’s not a magic wand. You won’t see weight loss after just one session. I’ve personally been told and read things like “lose 10lbs in 2 weeks” and “10 minutes is equal to 2 hours at the gym”.
These are both instances of the truth being misrepresented and exaggerated – which of course means that it is no longer the truth. In these two instances, the truth is that you will see weight loss, after a period of consistent use. And 10 minutes on a good platform equals 60 minutes vigorous work out. Why exaggerate?
With this particular technology, the truth is so dramatic that there’s really no need to exaggerate, but nevertheless, some businesses feel compelled to get an edge over their competition no matter what it takes.
From a business perspective, exaggeration and misrepresentation is truly not a good fiscal policy for the following reasons:
- Firstly, you cannot stand behind your claims and can therefore not offer a guarantee.
- Secondly, you may make the sale, but if the customer expects to enjoy the benefits you’ve promised and doesn’t, expect to get returns.
- Thirdly, if you disappoint your customer, you can be sure you’ll never sell to them again.
- Fourthly, if they’re upset enough, they will spread the word and you’ll develop a reputation for lack of integrity
Telling the truth is a better policy. Many of us are tired of over exaggerated claims and hype. As they say, if it sounds to good to be true…
However, if you sell your product offering realistic claims and having proof that these are true, you will find that your sincerity shines through. Your customers will get what they expect and will be happy. It’s often better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.
That’s not to say that you should minimize the great benefits of your product or service. But that you should be able to back what may seem like amazing claims with solid proof. Testimonials also go a long way to demonstrate the fact that other people have used the product or service and are happy with it.
The next time you are developing a promotional campaign, or even talking to a customer face to face or over the phone, remember, honesty is the best policy.