Stretching the Truth and the Art of Deception

A question we’ve all heard before is, “Are there ever times when a lie is not a lie?” That’s not as easy to decide as it sounds. There are times when honesty can be a matter of degree. For example, telling a “white lie” or half-truth for the better good or protection of people for kind or compassionate reasons, is not necessarily a wrong or bad thing. I’ve been in situations myself when I’ve had to stretch the truth a little. For example, I can remember complimenting a couple on how cute their son was when the truth was he was a very ordinary and scruffy looking kid. Sometimes common sense rules.Sretching The TruthStretching the truth is one thing; deceiving someone is an entirely different thing. Now you’re trying to cheat someone out of something that’s theirs—you’re stealing. One in particular is a bit shortsighted and not a very smart business approach, although very commonplace. Believe it or not, the idea of “padding” the price with a few extra bucks is an everyday practice in every retail business. The customer isn’t the only one trying to get the best deal. Right? Heed my advice here. Of all the dishonest things you can do to a customer, over charging them—swindling them—ranks right up there with intentionally selling them a defective product. YOU’RE A LIAR AND A CHEAT! Why the hell would you do that to someone?

Instead of trying to squeeze every nickel you can out of a customer in one deal by cheating them out of a few bucks, why not take the high ground? Use your imagination and focus on the real opportunity on the horizon: try to squeeze every year of loyalty out of them for the repeat deals ahead. This is more than a matter of conscience. It’s good business sense. Think about it. You only have to sell them once. After that, it’s all about servicing them with care. Doesn’t this make more sense?

You’d think anyone of average intelligence would realize this and start telling the truth. Unfortunately for many, the temptation is too great. Instead, they become pros at lying. They learn to “perfect” their lies so convincingly that they appear to be the truth. They’ve thought about everything: how it sounds, how likely it is to have happened, and of course, the bottom line—how believable it is. Half truths begin to look like the whole truth. This is where deception becomes an art form. Being deceptive can easily cost your job, money or a relationship

Whatever a customer’s experience is with you, that’s the impression they will communicate to everyone they know. This is a classic case of where Girard’s Law of 250 kicks into high gear. If you’ve been less than above board with them, especially on what they paid you for something, it could cost you. Your reputation is now on the hot seat, and that could take years to repair (if at all). What do you want them to say about YOU? What don’t you understand here? Tell me that isn’t YOU! Telling the truth and not being deceptive is always the right thing to do. It speaks well of your character and earns the respect of the people around you.