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In the past I’ve written about the fact that people might be afraid to buy from you, and you therefore need to convince them to set aside their fears. Sometimes, though, people aren’t afraid to buy from you at all—until something in your marketing materials scares them away! If you’re looking for ways to kill sales, telling obvious lies is an easy way to do so.


I was headed to a meeting in stop-and-go traffic at rush hour. Naturally, it was just at the point when hundreds of cars all came to a complete stop that my GPS cheerfully announced, “Traffic is now flowing smoothly on your route!”

Really? In what universe?

Lies kill trust

How do you feel when someone—meaning a real person, not just “Madame Google,” as my husband and I like to call the GPS—lies to you? I mean an obvious lie, such as “traffic is flowing smoothly” when it is not. You get angry, right? You get angry, you stop trusting that person and you start to question everything else they say.

The same is true with your marketing materials.

You need prospective customers to trust you

If you want total strangers to buy something from you, you absolutely must build trust. They need to trust that you’re not just going to take their money and run. They need to trust that you will deliver as promised, and that your product or service will work as claimed.

However, if you make a claim that is so unbelievable that it appears to be a lie, whatever trust you’ve created up to that point will be erased. Your “trustworthiness factor” will fall to zero.

Trust is a funny thing

In a personal relationship, once you lose someone’s trust it can be very difficult to earn it back. In marketing, once you lose someone’s trust it will probably be impossible to earn it back, because you won’t be given a chance to do so.

If a prospective customer thinks that you’re lying, they’ll simply look for another organization—a trustworthy organization—to give their business to instead.

The bottom line: Don’t just avoid lies. Avoid anything that looks like lies. It’s just not worth it.

What Others Are Saying

"Geez, Linda, you sure write well!"

Ray Johnston
President, Lido Property Management