When people ask me about the future of lead generation, the number one idea I raise is that authenticity is becoming a business necessity. Truth equals money, because it builds trust and connection.
Anything you’re doing to avoid or ignore painful truths, to hide from your weaknesses or avoid embarrassment, will make it harder to scale.
You and your company must be impeccably honest. Yes, this of course means eliminating any form of lying or manipulation throughout your community of employees, partners, and customers. But it also means being uncomfortably honest, and transparent, with employees, customers, and investors. You probably are already… and there’s always room for more.
Like when that high-profile project you’re backing starts failing, and may need to be restructured or canned. It’s embarrassing. Are you so determined to make it successful, or avoiding dealing with the embarrassment, that you’re intentionally ignoring danger signs? What are you doing to spot embarrassing problems early in an acquisition, investment, lead generation initiative, new hire, new office or plant, new product or management system?
The best form of marketing and sales is “the truth”—there is never a good reason to lie to your customers or team.
There are many more ways you can expand truth in your company, such as:
- With candid feedback reviews (both up and down) much more often than once a year.
- You can tell prospects in your sales cycle about what your product doesn’t do well yet.
- Share unhappy sales surprises with investors as often as exciting news.
- Admit to yourself and your team or board that you’re not ready to grow.
- That a key executive hire that you spent six months finding isn’t working out.
- That customers just don’t love the product you built.
- That you have concerns about your own future in your job.
We’re not saying be blindly and thoughtlessly transparent. Whatever you share, do it in a way that helps you and the recipient.
Our business culture teaches us that to be successful we can’t be ourselves to succeed, that we have to look good and “position things” to get a job, close a deal, or raise money.
Companies, and especially sales leaders, need to set an example of embracing the truth—not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it will make you money. It’s the difference between making money at the expense ofcustomers, versus making money by helping customers. One is a train wreck waiting to happen, and one is sustainable.
Being uncomfortably honest with yourself and your team helps you spot and deal with weaknesses before they trip you up. It promotes trust in your team and with customers, and the softest pillow is a clear conscience.