I recently rented a piece of equipment at a small U-rent store strategically located in the front of a large Home Improvement store. While finalizing the transaction, I realized the equipment would fit in the trunk of my car, but I wouldn’t be able to completely close the trunk lid and I didn’t have any string to tie it down. I mentioned this to the salesman who assured me he could find some string. 

After we lifted the equipment in the trunk, I reminded the salesman about the string. He quickly replied that he didn’t have any string, but that I could probably get some from the Home Improvement store. And without another word, he hurried back to his store. 

He didn’t hesitate in his response…he didn’t sympathize with my problem…he didn’t offer to help. It was obvious he had lied to close the sale. And he succeeded. I thought briefly about following him inside and confronting him, but decided it wasn’t worth it. I drove home with an open trunk lid bumping up and down. 

The salesman made $40 on the rental, but it cost him something much more valuable—my loyalty. That’s what takes me back to his store the next time. You know, when I need a $100 piece of equipment. It’s also what prompts me to recommend the store to my friends and acquaintances. And that could mean hundreds, even thousands of dollars more in business. But none of those things will happen. 

That salesman probably congratulated himself on his successful deal. He probably thought I didn’t notice his convenient little lie, and that it made no difference at all. But I did notice. And it will make a difference. Too bad he’ll never know just how much. And therein lies the problem that a lie to close a sale has for a business.