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Why "Bluffing" works in sales ... and in life!


I've been reading Annie Duke's book Thinking in Bets, which focuses on how human beings make decisions. Feels super helpful for getting better at sales!


Found this passage particularly interesting: humans are hard-wired to believe whatever they hear as true. We assume that everything around us is fact, because evolutionarily we had to be reactive to survive.


50000 years ago: "Rustling in the grass" - Shit it's a lion, run!!


If anyone stood around to go "wait, is that actually a lion or just a bit of wind?" and they were wrong... they got eaten. So those humans who reacted the fastest with the least information/proof always survived. That's why we are so quick to jump to conclusions: it's a survival mechanism.


How does this impact sales? Your prospects are hard coded to believe what you say. But they also know that salespeople tend to bluster. What I like to do is: tell them what I'm NOT good at first. Lower their guard.


"Hey Jenny, if you're looking for a really powerful marketing automation tool that can integrate with your entire tech stack and run sophisticated flows over text/social/etc., we are likely not the best solution. But if you want a no-code solution that will be live in <2 weeks with little effort from your eng team, still get you powerful automation, is really easy to use, and super clear analytics ... that's where we thrive."


Then just be smart about how you disqualify yourself. Mention things the prospect likely won't care about, and they will be 10x more likely to believe you about the things you claim to be great at.

๐Ÿ‘‘ Sales Strategy
๐Ÿ“ˆ Closing
64
fuzzy
Notable Contributor
+21
CMO (Chief Meme Officer)
Wouldn't be a bad idea to put this book on the Commission store
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
Love that idea.ย 
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
๐Ÿ”ฅ
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
up in Fiji, under paddy
Love this advice. We do something similar in my line of work. I've said to people "if you're looking for this, we're likely not the partner for you...but if you're looking for THIS we've got you covered."

I think it really assists in getting people to relax. A lot of prospects are so used to salespeople coming in guns a blazing to talk about how they work miracles and have an answer to every problem the prospect could possibly have, which just isn't realistic. Goes far in building rapport. Plus, if the prospect truly wants something we can't offer we know it's a dead deal and to move on.
Aries
WR Officer
+4
Fractional VP Sales
Bluffing is about deceiving - you don't need to do that in sales to be successful. Letting a buyer know what you're not good at vs good at though is smart and does build more trust - just do it honestly.ย 
gingey
Good Citizen
What does Account Exec even mean
I agree with this 1,000% and I'm a big fan of transparency in sales to get ahead of any objections (if I tell them bad news upfront, it qualifies them out and usually means only good news moving forward)--BUT if you're selling a POS this simply doesn't track.ย 

Let's be real, there's a lot of bloatware out there that people get backed into selling, and sometimes you need to avoid as much bad news as humanly possible to hit your numbers. I'd never advocate being deceptive (which the book comes dangerously close to, it looks like) but I get why people at shitty jobs create distractions or avoid certain truths. I've been there, and it sucks, but if you avoid outright lies you're OK.
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Absolutely ๐Ÿ’ฏ agreed
fuzzy
Notable Contributor
+21
CMO (Chief Meme Officer)
That's what loans and equity is at the simplest.. risk vs reward :). But, if you go in with honesty and some vulnerability, it makes the risk lower because you've lowered the red and raised the green.ย 
CoffeeDrinkingCloser
Sales executive
This is awesome. Gonna pick up this book and dive in. Hopefully it helps with both sales and betting ๐Ÿ˜‚
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Same here๐Ÿ™Œ
BigPhoneCallGuy
Account Executive
Form an opinion in an instant, spend a lifetime defending it
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Excellent
AboutThatSalesLife
Good Citizen
Director of Sales
This was a great read and sound advice. Youโ€™re addressing something that the prospect probably already knows themselves and are disarming them from using it as an objection.
Jgre12
Fire Starter
+3
Senior Account Executive
This is awesome thanks for sharingย 
gr
gravitassaasdad
Executive Sales Representative
Spot on. This concept works wonders!ย 
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
This actually relates to something I took away from Harry Potter (yes, I'm serious). Hagrid talks about giving one gift a day and then coming back, showing the giants they keep their promises when attempting to court them as allies.

I often try to make some early commitments that are super easy to achieve. Then as you build onto your product features, what it/your team, can do, etc., your credibility is higher.
TheLoneGun
Praised Answer
+1
Extremely Rad Product Offloading Specialist
I agree. There's actually a psychological value in showing your cards that is two-fold. 1. They are denied something they probably never even considered 2. Thet now trust you more for not being a time waster.ย  Soliddd.ย 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Great post! Thanks for sharing.
TheWolfofGlengarry
Opinionated
+1
Global Account Manager
Great book. Good reference. Highly recommend this book to learn about different mindsets to apply to sales motions.
SalesPharaoh
Politicker
+8
AM BDR
Solid advice
Trinity
WR Officer
+7
BusDev
Thanks for sharing. I'll get her book.ย 
coldcallandcry
WR Officer
+3
Growth Account Manager
I can't wait to learn from Annie soon!
sellphtitled
Inside Sales Manager
This a good illustration/explanation of the Fight or Flightย "old brain" conceptย Corporateย Visions discusses in their sales training
sct
CEO & Co-Founder
Thanks - really good tactical advice. I'm already figuring out how to work that into my next meeting with a prospect.
Great way to increase believability but I also imagine it's a good way of challenging the prospect and differentiating your product.

i.e. "Most competitors do X, but that's not really solving your problem because of Y, what you really need is Z. We're willing to admit we don't do X, but we're the best in the market in Z, which is why we're differentiated and better placed to solve your problem. That's why the smart, discerning buyers come to us..."
nicolekanderson
Member
Strategic Account Executive
Normally being brutally honest and being super transparent in a deal has lead me to win more than not. In a current deal, it is super competitive. The customer is leaning on signing with my company vs competitor because they feel the are being taken advantage. It has allowed me to have a broader partnership conversation and I have now built a lot of trust
SvgSeller
Account Executive
Seems like a simple yet effective tactic. Will try it out during a pitch I have booked for next week!
PatrickBateman
Sr. Account Manager
Fake it till you make it!...

but really understanding the phycology of sales is a huge game changerย 
vaibhav
VP Sales @KreativBricks
A sales guy who reads and applies, wonderful @sahilย 
Bigdealdan
Fire Starter
+1
Director of Business Development
Interesting form of vocabulary to make the point, but I agree. Sharing vulnerabilities and areas lacking in your product will lower the guard. What is just as important is then shifting this to a 3rd party.

What I mean by that is, "if youre looking for... we can't, but we can...... I was working with a X and they struggled with Y, and they used this tool for Z which closed the gap."

Stories in your sales pitch lead to more winning stories.
YoureMuted
Opinionated
+1
AE
โ€œYouโ€™re really not going to like this...โ€ then lay something on them that really isnโ€™t that big of a deal.ย 
NarcoticsAnonymous
Influencer
+3
Executive Sales Rep
The โ€œbreakup emailโ€ works a LOT of the timeย 
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