How to Spot a Liar: 5 Ways Salespeople Can Tell Their Prospect Is Lying

Knowing how to spot a liar is absolutely critical to sales success. Watch this video to learn the 5 best ways to tell if your prospect is lying.

Have you ever felt like your prospect might be lying to you—but you just weren’t sure?

This is actually one of the most common challenges that salespeople face with prospects. In fact, the data suggests that buyers often don’t trust salespeople, so as a result, they’re inclined to lie to them.

Think of it as a defense mechanism.

Now, this may or may not be your fault. Some studies show that over two-thirds of salespeople are rated as poor or below average by their prospects. Those folks are bringing the reputations of all salespeople down with them, like a sinking ship. This means that you need to be prepared to spot lying prospects when you come across them.

You need to know how to spot a liar.

When you know how to spot a liar, that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to call them out. But rather, you can use that information to your advantage in the selling scenario and avoid compromising situations.

In this video, I’m going to show you five ways that salespeople can tell that their prospect is lying. Check it out.

How to Spot a Liar Video Summary

 How to Spot a Liar Tip #1_ Inconsistent storyHow to Spot a Liar Tip #1: Inconsistent story.

If you’re good at asking questions of your prospects, you’ll be learning a lot about them, particularly during that initial discovery process. For many different reasons, your prospect may decide to lie to you. The easiest and most reliable way to spot a liar is to start to notice the inconsistencies in their stories.

This is key if you want to learn how to spot a liar. If you’re paying close attention, it will be pretty easy.

For example, your prospect may tell you two incompatible numbers. Or there may be details that simply don’t add up. If you notice these inconsistencies, note them in your notes and, if necessary, ask your prospects about the discrepancies. But be sure to do this in a very non-aggressive way.

Say something like, “You know what George, I really appreciate your saying that, but you mentioned that revenues were X and profits were Y. Is that correct?”

How to Spot a Liar Tip #1_ a break in eye contact during the telling of an important part

How to Spot a Liar Tip #2: A break in eye contact during the telling of an important detail.

Now, this next tip on how to spot a liar requires that you’re actually paying close attention to your prospect’s subtle actions and body movements. Most humans will avert their gaze when they’re telling a lie about an important detail. It’s just natural because they’re likely hiding something by lying.

Most people aren’t naturally good poker players for a reason.

Pay very close attention to your prospects’ eyes when they’re telling you important details. Of course, be willing to break eye contact throughout the conversation—you don’t want to just stare right into their eyes the whole time—but be prepared to notice a sustained look-away that signifies the telling of a lie.

How to Spot a Liar Tip #1_ hyperbolic language

How to Spot a Liar Tip #3: Hyperbolic language.

When people use vague but hyperbolic language, it’s usually covering something up. You don’t have to look far to find this. In the media, for example, you’ll notice that when politicians are being interviewed by someone on a news show, they’ll often use really hyperbolic, exaggerating language, but they’re not really saying much of anything.

Lying prospects do the same exact thing.

Just imagine that someone says, “Last year our sales numbers blew up and now we’re just crushing it.” That’s pretty vague and, at the same time, over the top.

So when prospects do this, simply seek clarification and get more specifics. Again, nothing confrontational. Just say something like, “You know when you said your sales numbers blew up—what does that really mean specifically?”

How to Spot a Liar Tip #1_ Qualifying statements

How to Spot a Liar Tip #4: Qualifying statements.

“You know George, to be honest with you, I haven’t really looked into this.” Or, “Karen, to tell you the truth, we’re really busy right now.” Or, “Dan, if I’m being honest with you…” Or, “Marc, I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Statements like these are commonly red flags for lies. Whenever you hear people start a sentence or a phrase with something that sounds like, “to be honest,” be guarded, because it’s likely that whatever comes out next is not entirely the truth—or could be completely inaccurate.

Always pay very close attention to the language that people are using when they’re starting important statements.

How to Spot a Liar Tip #1 positivity with an unwilling to schedule a next step

How to Spot a Liar Tip #5: Positivity with an unwillingness to schedule a next step.

One of my first mentors always used to say that the most dangerous prospect is actually the positive prospect. Be guarded with these people.

Positive prospects will stroke your ego. They’re gonna tell you how great you are and how they just want to figure out how they can do business with you—then they ghost.

Be very wary of prospects who are positive, but at the same time vague in terms of having a clear next step. Notice if they push back when you try to schedule some kind of a next step.

How to spot a liar- 5 Ways Salespeople Can Tell Their Prospect is Lying

Always try to get commitments from these people for next steps.

So, there you have it. Those are the five ways salespeople can tell their prospect is lying. Which of these tips about how to spot a liar will you implement right away? Which of these red flags have you noticed before with your own prospects? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll do my best to respond to every single one.

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About the Author Marc Wayshak

Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.

Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.

Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.

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