Bradley carefully researched solutions for a technical problem before going to the store. He knew what he needed, where to find it and what it should cost. The salesperson told him that item would not work, that he needed something different – and of course more expensive.
Douglas scheduled minor, routine surgery. His doctor told him he had three options: one was unnecessary, one would only partially fix the problem and the third (expensive) option would be exceptionally good but was not covered by his insurance. He believed his doctor and paid for the third option, only to learn later from others that there was in fact a fourth option that was good, less expensive and covered by his insurance.
Unfortunately, it is not unusual for sales people (and sometimes even doctors) to try to sell a more expensive option. In the past we often expected to be given choices so we could make an informed decision. Lately I am hearing many examples where a person was only given the extreme options, either ineffective or high end, not the basics; the sales person blatantly told the customer there were no other choices. Bradley was able to avoid this problem due to his research. Douglas believed his doctor and overpaid.
Misleading people happens a lot. Sometimes it is done to pursue greater profits, as in Bradley and Douglas’s cases. Sometimes it is aggressive spin to try to convince people of our way of thinking; there is now a mini-industry geared toward helping us fact-check the evening news. Sometimes it is the result of ignorance.
When you omit relevant facts or “spin” information, you assume your audience is not capable of knowing the difference or of figuring it out. This is demeaning to your audience, and ultimately makes them distrust you. Bradley is unlikely to trust the tech sales person. Douglas is unlikely to trust the doctor who omitted option 4. Many people no longer trust the evening news.
Misleading people is seen as dishonest and a lack of integrity. It reflects badly on the perpetrator’s character and damages their reputation.
Just because so many others are doing it doesn’t mean you should do it too. These days it is so common you will stand above the crowd if you maintain honesty and integrity. People will respect and trust you more, and that is good for business.