Recently I encountered a salesman who knew very well that his product was not the most sought after in the market. In trucking, Peterbilt and Kenworth are soomewhat like BMW and Mercedes in terms of how much drivers want to drive them. They are definitely considered the premier trucks on the road by many drivers. Freightliner, by comparison, is more like driving a Buick or a Dodge. Well, when my company was deciding what type of trucks to buy, we seriously considered the Kenworth first because of its appeal to drivers - which would help recruitment - and because of its resale value. Then we met the Freightliner salesman. His argument went something like this.
"Do you like to overpay your taxes? he asked. Of course the answer was no.
"Well, buying a Kenworth is like overpaying your taxes. Sure, you can get more for the Kenworth when you're done with it. Resale is a huge selling point for them. But you pay more for it up front. I'm willing to let you keep that extra money now."
Obviously the man knew that trying to sell us on all the great things about a Freightliner was not the way to go. He openly admitted there is a product available that is more widely sought after. He just knew how to sell his product. By appealing to something good about his product without pretending it was the best available, he helped us decide to buy from him. And we did.
Selling a product in a dishonest or misleading fashion can be even worse for a business that overselling its qualities. If a salesperson convinces a person to buy an inferior product and denies a better one exists, when that consumer sees the better product he might never return to the store where he bought his inferior one. If the salesperson instead points out that the better product exists but makes a reasonable comparison of the costs versus the benefits, he will likely sell more of his own product and improve his store's reputation.