You lied to the client, and you got found out. How do you deal with it?

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Business owner lying to client

ProfitGuide.com

UPDATE: Your answers are now online. Click here to see what you said.

Our colleagues at ProfitGuide.com are looking for your opinion on how you deal with being caught lying by your client. Every issue, we—as in the new, combined PROFIT and Canadian Business—feature the “Crowdsourced” column, where readers chime in with real-world advice on issues affecting entrepreneurs. This issue we want to know how you salvage the situation when your clients discover that you haven’t been entirely honest with them.

Here’s PROFIT senior editor Deborah Aarts explaining:

 Be honest. If you have never exaggerated your own firm’s capabilities, resources and/or experiences in order to land a sale—even just a little—I’m willing to bet you know a fellow entrepreneur who has. Hunger has a way of skewing one’s moral compass.

Those who aren’t 100% honest in their pitches usually use their absolute confidence in their product and/or service offering to justify their white lies. “We’re completely capable of delivering what the client wants,” they reason. “So, why does it matter if we haven’t actually done this before/served similar customers/earned this certification?”

Fair enough. But the client whose money you’re taking may not think the same way.

In 2014, it’s easier than ever for prospective or current customers to fact-check your claims. Google, LinkedIn and countless online review sites make it pretty simple to sniff out falsehoods. And that’s not even factoring in an increasing willingness among buyers to call up past customers you haven’t provided as references.

This all means that if you’re lying (or even just exaggerating), there’s a good chance your customer will be able to call you on it. And that leads to all sorts of problems. You may lose your client’s trust—if not their business altogether. If this client goes public about your dishonesty, you may find yourself with a big image problem—and that kind of thing tends to stick.

So how have you dealt with this problem? Take a minute to visit ProfitGuide.com now and tell Deborah what you think: Your client caught you lying. Now what?

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