Unqualified hyperbole is disastrous!!

"Buying this tool, for very little money, due to the enormous discount we have been able to provide, will deliver huge benefits to your organisation. It will be possible to install it in no time at all, and you will be delighted with the results."

On the face of it there is little wrong with this extract from a sales pitch. However, some of the phrasing in it is like a red rag to a bull for me. I take issue with terms such as 'enormous', 'very little', 'huge', and 'no time at all'. Without further qualification, these terms mean nothing. 

They are subjective and comparative. One person may feel that $100,000 is very little money, whereas another may consider this to be an enormous amount. "No time at all" could be a day or a year, again depending on your perspective.

I have also seen negative hyperbole, describing a minor delay as a 'disaster', for example.

The problem is, hyperbole damages trust.

When Tom uses unqualified hyperbole to describe money, I (and many others like me) will immediately think that that he is trying to keep something from me. This is because money is easy to describe in factual, quantifiable terms. If Tom shys away from describing costs and benefits in pounds and pence, I will wonder what he is trying to hide from me, and I will either clam up; or keep seeking further explanation. And, as any good salesperson will tell you, when you are explaining, you're losing.

Here's the rub. It is highly likely that Tom had no intention to withhold information from me, and clearly, as a salesman, he does not set out to erode trust. Maybe he thought that using dry figures would be boring?

What if he had tried this instead?

"Buying this tool at £80 per user per year will deliver you a saving of £10,000 in Year One, due to the 40% discount we are giving you on list price. This is on top of the productivity benefits - I recommend you talk to some of our happy customers to understand what these will look like for you. Best of all, if you sign up this week, we can have you up and running in 3 weeks, using our free accelerator programme. We think you'll be delighted with the results!"

Less need for explanation, and more trust created. An enormous win, eh?