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How transparent is TOO transparent?

I get called out a lot by sales management for being "too transparent" with my clients but honestly that is just how I sell. If a buyer asks me a price question I give them a price answer, no nonsense, no fluff, just tell them the price and ask if that's what they expected it to be.


If there's a delay in executing something like a contract and the slow down is coming internally (from say, our legal team) I am honest about that too. The client doesn't need to only see us at our best, it's actually MORE important (imo) that they see us as humans, so that they don't come to expect absolute perfection from us. I've also felt that doing this kind of shit builds trust WAY faster.


Anyway, I've done extremely well building a solid pipeline and although it took me 2 years I am finally crushing every single quarter and my margins just keep growing... so obvi I'm doing something right.


What is your opinion on transparency in sales? Do you use it? Is there such as thing as being "too transparent"?

๐Ÿ‘‘ Sales Strategy
31
CoorsKing
WR Officer
+11
King of the Coors Knights
I am pretty direct, but there are definitely times where I think full transparency does more harm than good. For example, in negotiations I know exactly how much room I have. However, I will always make a show of it. โ€œOk, look Iโ€™m totally willing to go to bat for you. I need to take this back to my management and see what I can get approved.โ€

Typically the times I am less transparent are when dealing with asks from the customer.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
up in Fiji, under paddy
100% agreed.ย 

I use transparency as an efficiency tool more than anything. If the prospect is asking me about doing something I know for a fact that we can't do, I'm going to answer them truthfully right then and there instead of humming and hawing around it only to have it kill the deal down the line. It's also great for building rapport - I don't shy away from discussing the positives of a competitor, for example.ย 

However I do hold back on transparency in situations like Meech touched on. Lying is not right, but keeping some information close to your chest when it's not going to negatively affect a prospect is fine by me.
Craggus
Opinionated
+1
Key Account Manager
Totally with you on this.ย  You need a certain amount of transparency to build trust with clients.ย  If they don't trust you, they won't order from you!
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Senior Account Executive
If you search for transparency, more than likely you'll see quite a few posts where I preach that it is key when dealing with clients.

However, you don't want to show all of your cards. There are shady procurement people that are dying to get your information to share with a competitor that they are friends with. Be mindful of that. Also be mindful of throwing your company under the bus so to speak. Legal delay? Fine. Too many details about the legal delay? You look sloppy. It's a balance.
TheRealPezDog
Notable Contributor
+9
Account Manager
Hey man, Iโ€™m sorry for stealing some of your thunder, I did a quick search but didnโ€™t notice it in any of the titles.
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Senior Account Executive
Lol not in titles I meant comments. Thanks for using the search bar though ๐ŸฆŠ
Show 1 more replies
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
Whatever helps you close deals is what counts. Your management can say whatever they want but they're not going to do shit as long as you're closing.
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
Completely agree with you. Being shady might generate more top of funnel but what really matters is closed deals and being transparent will help you get way more closed wons in the long run so I respect it๐Ÿค๐Ÿ”ฅ
TheRealPezDog
Notable Contributor
+9
Account Manager
Thanks!
SaaSam
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Just don't be shady. You don't need to reveal everything right away, there is the right time to show certain cards but if you're hiding something, people will pick up on it and it may bite you in the ass.
Prunetracey
Fire Starter
+2
VP Growth
Replace the word "transparent" with "honest" and I'd agree. Just be honest. Be human.ย 
(I'd say transparent fits everywhere except for complex negotiation but ultimately I'm with you on this).

sellingsellssold
Politicker
+7
SDR
I always think that being very transparent and honest is the key to sales. Customers are very clear when they tell you to โ€œfuck offโ€ so I think being clear back in a respectful way is always helpful. No need to play games just get to the point.
Oz
Ozz
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Yeah, get to the point - people are busy - you need to focus on the buying experience and that's how we're crushing or competitors. Any blockers makes you lose credibility on your ability to deliver.ย 
Kinonez
Celebrated Contributor
+9
WR Enthusiast
If they can see though it, without seeing their reflection, it's too transparent!

In all seriousness, transparency is important just be careful when it doesnโ€™t portray the best picture for you company, white lies about why it's not on time are sometimes better than full transparency. That being said, I do tend to be more transparent as well!
FamilyTruckster
Acclaimed Answer
+7
Exec Director, Major Accounts
As long as youโ€™re not pointing fingers and rolling on other people, honesty is the way to go.ย 

keep doing what youโ€™re doing.ย 
TheRealPezDog
Notable Contributor
+9
Account Manager
Yep, absolutely.ย  I never throw people under the bus, maybe departments (like marketing) haha... but never putting blame on individuals unless it's me owning a mistake (which I will occasionally do)ย 
mitts2
Politicker
+8
Account Executive
People buy from people. Building a trusted relationship is key and I have a similar style as you, pretty honest and straightforward. That said, there are times when I might hold back or not share something completely to try and keep control on the deal. Just like everything in sales, its a balance.ย 
TheRealPezDog
Notable Contributor
+9
Account Manager
absolutely.ย  I definitely don't go out of my way to be transparent but if it helps me build trust and credibility I want them to see me as someone they can count on to give them the "real deal" so to speak, God, I sound like a fuckin' Allstate commercial.ย  "If you want the real deal, work with the real pez dog"ย 
youKNOW
Politicker
+7
Sales Manager
I think transparency in sales is totally fine. But I also think that each situation is unique so it's a tool that can be used when needed. I've always liked the idea of adding a "good news" spin to everything as well. Can't let doubt start to creep in over time; it's better to try and keep people in a positive frame of mind.
sketchysales
Politicker
+7
Sales Manager
Telling your customer your making 300% GP is probably a bit too transparent.ย 
TheRealPezDog
Notable Contributor
+9
Account Manager
Agreed.ย  Good example of something that is "too transparent"ย 
DungeonsNDemos
Politicker
+7
AE of B2B
I'd say nuance and how you go about it can really make the difference. Empathy ties in to the transparency, but you shouldn't metaphorically shoot everything you have in one shot.ย 
Throughout the sale keep building the case for value, while remaining on their side/transparent but knowing how far you can go with your own information and discounts.
Jh
Jhonbpal
Fire Starter
+1
CEO
I think transparency is a must for both you and the prospect. Helps both parties sleep better.ย 
Adored
Valued Contributor
+5
Sales Director
People that lie (and are bad at it) always get found out and get fired. Go sell some transactional bullshit that a website accepting credit card payments could do just as good a job of.
mi
missyd
Good Citizen
Account Executive
I am the same way and my boss' hated it. I was successful because of the transparency so I never understood why people lie. Honesty is appreciated in sales, why can't we accept it...ย 
Tomahawk
Fire Starter
+2
AE Team Lead
I believe strongly that if you are 100% transparent in the way youโ€™re stating it, then you lose a lot of the leverage that allows you to be effective as a salesperson. Honesty and upfront-ness (thatโ€™s a word, right) for sure.
ppg
Opinionated
+6
SUPER-visor
Depends man. The right customer will require the right kind of honesty/transparency. Some sell themselves to your product/service/etc because it/you fix their problem. I have no problem telling a contractor that his prices are 10% less than a direct customer so he can make his profit on my product. I help him sell my product. But I wonโ€™t tell a customer he pays more than the contractorโ€ฆ that would not be rightโ€ฆ Iโ€™d loose all credibility.
Santipodero
Politicker
+2
Sanix
turning on the tv when I get home from work gives a lot of peace of mind and I relax
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