Advice: "The top salesperson on my team is lying to prospects. What should I do?"

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Dear Quota Team

I'm relatively new to sales, I just started a new job (my 2nd job in sales) and I'm really excited about the opportunity and love the company. The first few months have been a bit of an adjustment period. I'm hitting quota, but it's not easy, and I'm working harder than ever.

A few weeks ago, I was paired up with the top rep on our team. He's consistently #1. I was told to shadow him on a few calls to learn from him. I joined him on a few calls with prospects and took some notes for him. 

Here's the problem: the guy is definitely lying to prospects. They aren't big malicious lies, but they're small things that just aren't true. Like the other day, he told a prospect that we work with a bunch of Fortune 500 clients, which I know is just not true. It's just little things like that that bother me. I get sometimes in sales you have to embellish or stretch the truth, but where is the line? Just saying something that is outright a lie feels wrong to me.

I'm unsure of how I feel. Part of me wants to confront him, but I can't see how that could be productive. I don't think I can say anything to management because he's the top rep at the company. He just seems to be getting away with it and succeeding without repercussions. Is this normal? Do I have to bend the truth to reach the top of this industry?

Conflicted in Location Withheld 


Dear Conflicted,

While pop culture has portrayed salespeople as dishonest and willing to go to extreme lengths to close a deal, this typically isn't the reality. Most successful sales reps are honest, hardworking people who want to help customers solve problems. 

Sure, there are times they may (gently) embellish certain details (ex: "we usually don’t give out discounts, but in this case..."), but directly lying to a prospect is a slippery slope and isn't something you want to do. It might seem like your coworker is invincible for now, but eventually he'll get caught in a lie and it will cost him.

Our advice: keep your head down and work on yourself. You're right, it's not worth confronting him or bringing it up to management. You don't need to compromise your integrity and morals to succeed in sales. Instead, focus on yourself and your goals.

Good luck!

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