Why Your Customers Lie

James L. King
3 min readJan 6, 2022


“It’s a basic truth of the human condition, that everybody lies. The only variable is about what.”

— Gregory House, M.D.

Do you find yourself often feeling like your customers are not telling you the whole truth? Guess what? You’re right! Customers lie all the time — they’re only human. We all lie and anyone who claims they don’t is, you guessed it, LYING.

I love a good paradox.

The key is to accept this and to seek to understand why customers lie so much, instead of letting it frustrate or anger you. Despite the fact that it is inevitable, there are strategies you can use to make it easy for your customers to tell you the truth as often as possible.

Let’s discuss 4 common deceptions and why your customers might be attempting them on you in the first place.

Lie #1: “We don’t have the budget for that right now”

Let me be frank. What this usually means is “We don’t believe what you pitched is worth the amount you tried to charge.”

If customers are often saying this, it means you are failing to convey your value in a way that matters to them. Selling is not about ham-fistedly insisting that you are the best option because (adjectives). It’s about skillfully steering the conversation so that you can diagnose their problem and prescribe a solution.

You’re the expert, you need to act like it.

Lie #2: “Someone else can do it cheaper”

If your competitor, a Fiverr designer, an old employee they have already fired, or somebodies’ little cousin with Photoshop could do the same quality job for 1/2 the price, why are they even talking to you?

This is bait to lower your prices so they can get clearly superior service for less money. Don’t take it. Let their cousin try their hand at the job and when he screws it up you can charge them double to fix it.

Lie #3: “I need a written proposal before I can decide”

This one is contextual — if you’re bidding on a government contract they’re likely to require a written proposal.

However, for most customers, you should at least reach a verbal agreement before you spend hours working on a proposal that likely won’t even be read.

Most of the time, this is an excuse to exit the conversation without saying “no” because believe it or not — saying “no” is hard for many people.

The less time you waste working on dead deals the more time you can spend cultivating valuable relationships with viable clients.

Lie #4: “We’re completely happy with our current vendor.”

This one is similar to lie #2 — if they are so happy with their current service provider, why are they here right now, talking to you?

This is binary. It’s either (1) complete BS and they hate the guy, or (2) the truth and they want you to do the same job but cheaper (run). Pry for more details to assess the situation, and if it’s #1, figure out what that person did wrong and then explain how you’ll do it right.

I hope exposing these lies has helped you understand how to go about seeking the truth.

Once you know the real problem, you can provide the real solution.

This post was created with Typeshare



James L. King

Hi, I’m James L. King, entrepreneur and brand architect. I write about branding, marketing, sales and self-improvement. Prepare yourself, I talk a lot.