Do Businesses Need to Lie to Boost Sales?

By webadmin on 03:16 pm Sep 03, 2012
Category Archive

Coach Cynthia

I had a service experience in a newly-opened lounge in Jakarta and I just wanted to get your insights on this. I felt disturbed and wondered, “Has it really come to this? Are these people so desperate to make money?”

We went to a new lounge in Jakarta after a big dinner and we just wanted to relax and to enjoy the environment. It was a high-end scene and we were ready for the high prices. But we weren’t ready for the service.

My friend ordered a café latte and the waiter told her that the place didn’t have coffee available. Hmm, interesting.

Because she’s visited the place before, she insisted and the waiter went to the back to “check with the manager.”

After a while he came back and said that she’s in luck, they do have coffee. It was so obvious through his body language that he lied through his teeth. A place like that didn’t have coffee? Really? Or was he just saying that to get her to pick a more expensive alcoholic beverage? 

Then came my turn. I ordered a dessert and a chamomile tea. This time, he said that they ran out of teapots. I looked around the place and didn’t see that many teapots being used, so naturally I challenged him. He took my order and in a few minutes my tea came magically — with a teapot.

He then said, “We found the last one.” Really? Or did you just want me to order a more expensive drink with my already-pricey dessert?

To make sure we kept ordering more, he kept coming back to our table, placed his little flashlight next to our drink to measure how much we had left over, both the non-alcoholic and the alcoholic drinks. It was quite annoying to see this man come in the middle of our conversation periodically.

He finally came and asked us if we wanted more drinks, and when we said no, he immediately followed up with: “And do you still want to talk at this table?” 

Wow! That’s a clear sign of “get out or order some more drinks!” 

I guess one dessert and 4 drinks for one table wasn’t satisfactory for 45 minutes time at one table. We asked for the bill and left.

I’ve visited the place twice, and each time I brought 3-4 friends along with me. There are those ordering several drinks and those preferring to stay off alcohol, but we were always good customers. I left that night vowing never to return.  

As a business coach, I can’t help to observe the businesses I visit. In this lounge what stood out was the culture of the servers: The lack of sincerity, the cunning lies to get customers to buy more and the way they turn me off with their way to push more sales. 

Have any of you experienced this before? What do you think about using lies as a strategy to get more sales? Let’s keep this blog open for discussion.

Coach Cynthia owns an ActionCOACH Business Coaching franchise in South Jakarta that guides owners to increase your business results with a proven 17-week guarantee. For more information on business coaching, go to

  • K

    I have noticed the same tactics in New York City. Close friends of mine have told me that I need to learn to use similar strategies if I want to get ahead. I guess I’ll never become successful because I refuse to take advantage of others.