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Do people see right through you?


My friend, Jeff Macoun, called a couple of Fridays ago.

He wasted no time.

“I’m calling to sell you something.”

We laughed, because Jeff rarely calls to sell me anything. We usually shoot the breeze, swap a few stories, and get updated on anything new.

But this was different. So, I listened as Jeff made his pitch, and then we moved on to our normal chit chat. At the end, it was obvious that the transparency up front had helped. It sharpened how Jeff made his ask… and how I listened to it, too.

Contrast this with what happened a few days earlier.

It was a snowy Saturday in January.

I was parked in our driveway, car running, on my phone with a SiriusXMagent trying to re-calibrate my signal. It was my third time going through the same exercise inside of a month, and I was frustrated. After a couple of hiccups, the agent (she was in Cairo!) finally fixed things. As she wrapped up, I could tell she was checking my customer profile on her screen.

Wait a minute. 

She realized I was a long-time customer, coming up on 15 years, or a few thousand listens of my favourite road song.  I was customer gold.  The agent quickly shifted gears and offered a “gift” to reward my loyalty: a free satellite box to enjoy listening at home too.

“It’s free?”

“Yes, it’s our gift to you.”


“To reward your loyalty.”

“Do you ship it to me?”

“Yes, you just pay $12 monthly to access the channels.”

“So my gift will cost me $144 a year?”

“The box is free. The monthly charge is $12.”


“You weren’t truthful with me just now.”


See how that exchange was the opposite of what I experienced with Jeff? He was clear about why he was calling, and what he was selling.  I could see right through Jeff because he invited me to.

But SiriusXM pulled the bait-and-switch.

Transparency is the foundation for all that we hope to achieve.

When we’re see-through-clear, like Jeff was with me, it sets off a domino effect that’s good for our business and our brand.

Transparency breeds authenticity, the sense that we’re true and real.
This authenticity builds trust.
Which creates loyalty.
Over time, trust and loyalty deliver results.
Our customers purchase and re-purchase.
They tell others about us.
Which is how our business grows.

Nobody wants the bait-and-switch.  We all want transparency.

But transparency on what, exactly?

For starters:

  1. Transparency on how we help. We can confidently declare what we do… and what we don’t. Why make people guess? Why not make it easy?
  1. Transparency on what we believe. By being clear on what we care about, what we stand for, we help people decide if we’re the right fit for them. (Maybe we’re not, but better to know this early, not late.)
  1. Transparency on the money upfront. Doesn’t it make sense for us to be 100% clear on what we charge – on what’s free and what’s not? Isn’t it better to have this conversation sooner, not later?

When we’re transparent on each of these things, we make it easier for customers to trust us, to purchase from us, and (ultimately) to advocate for us to others.

And the reverse is also true.  Just as transparency builds trust, the lack of transparency erodes it.

Jeff created trust in his ‘sales’ call, and in all of his calls with me before that.

The SiriusXM woman in Cairo tore my trust down.  For no good reason.

So remember what Mark Twain once said: “The best thing about telling the truth is you never have to think about what to say.”

And ask yourself

  1. Is it easy for you to tell the truth?
  2. Are people seeing right through you?
  3. Don’t you hope so?