Are Your Clients Lying to You?

You probably learned this lesson in kindergarten. Not everyone tells the truth – not your
parents or your friends – and especially not your clients. Wouldn’t it be nice to know when your client is lying? The debate rages among professionals about whether it’s possible to tell if someone is telling the truth. Short of hooking up a person to a machine, there are other ways to detect lies. Check out these tips from Travis Bradberry.

Bradberry reports on findings from a University of Massachusetts researcher who has long studied the practice of lying. Robert Feldman claims well over half of people, 60%, tell up to  three lies in a typical 10-​minute conservation. If you can pick up on these lies while they’re happening, you can potentially quickly change course and save your sale.

Body Motion

People who are lying know they’re doing wrong. So, they’re uncomfortable. Subconsciously, they’ll show you their discomfort. For example, they might tap their fingers on the table when they tell you they’ll make their decision on Friday. They might shuffle their feet when they claim you are the only vendor they are considering.

Facial Expression

People have long focused on someone’s eyes as a way to look for indications of lying. But are you watching for the right detail? Instead of checking to see if your prospect is looking left or right, pay attention to changes in eye movement. Studying changes in eye behavior means you’ll need to know your client or prospect well.

Here's another tip. When they start telling you they can’t sign your contract because it’s too expensive, are they also looking at the door? That’s a sign that they might be lying to you.

No lie detection system is perfectly accurate. For example, research shows that psychopaths are flawless liars so if you’re dealing with that type of personality, maybe you should be the one edging toward the door. Otherwise, watch your prospect carefully and when you suspect they’re lying, adjust your approach to see if you can address the issue that is really holding them back from doing business with you.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.