Are You Selling With Integrity?
There are situations in life that require people to take drastic steps.
Salespeople, like everyone else, must ensure there is enough money to pay the bills and provide for themselves and their families.
Can desperate situations mitigate certain values?
What about normal circumstances?
When does integrity come into play in relation to sales?
Do you have a personal code of conduct or a concise set of rules to follow?
Do you have a compelling reason to sell something to someone other than making money for yourself?
I would like to believe that every salesperson has the integrity to be truthful about the products and/or services they sell.
But face it, it just ain’t so!
These can be difficult questions to answer for many professional salespeople.
I strongly believe this type of behavior greatly contributes to a general skepticism about selling and salespeople as I explained in my previous post, if you are Sold on Selling, you must also commit to Selling With Integrity.
We all know many products and services can only be described as trash and the market will, over time, gravitate toward the best and cause the worst to fade away.
However, there are often less than ethical methods employed to sell great products and services along with the other trash.
What about the salespeople who employ these methods? Is it only about the money and how much of it you can get?
Where do you draw the line between ethical selling and unethical selling?
Selling With Integrity
I remember one of my first sales jobs
I had taken a summer job selling vacuum cleaners to help make money for school.
This vacuum was the best vacuum cleaner I had ever seen. I was looking forward to learning everything there was to know about the product and how to sell it.
There was in-class training designed to educate the sales force about everything the vacuum cleaner could do, why it was better that others, and how easy it would be for anyone to own because of the accessible financing options.
I was sold on the vacuum and was eager to hit the road. It was a fine product, solved a common problem – cleaned carpets and more, and was competitively priced. What more could a salesperson want! I was going to have more than enough money for school.
After the in-class training was finished, I was taken into the field by a sales trainer to be shown the ropes. All the appointments had been pre-arranged by telemarketers offering free gifts which is a common practice – Door Openers.
The first sales call was to a lady with a huge house filled with wall-to-wall carpet. It was a breeze. The trainer went through his presentation and didn’t miss a beat. When the guy demonstrated how the vacuum could suck stuff from the carpet that her machine left behind, he didn’t even have to ask her for the sale, out came the cheque. I couldn’t wait for the next call.
The next house we went to was very small and as we approached it I was wondering how anyone inside could possibly afford an expensive vacuum cleaner.
But out of the car we got with the gift in hand. A young lady with a baby in her arms answered and agreed to let us demonstrate our cleaner. In we went with the $1500 vacuum cleaner.
While the sales trainer was getting into his pitch and asking the girl questions, I couldn’t help but notice there were no carpets anywhere in the little house, only a rug under the kitchen table. It was obvious, to me, we were wasting our time here.
The fact that there were no carpets and only the small rug didn’t deter the sales trainer one tiny bit and he was soon trying to close the sale.
When asked if she would like to pay for the vacuum with cash, credit card, or our convenient financing, the girl said she loved the vacuum but really had no use for it as she only had a small rug.
The objection was an easy one to overcome and again the sales trainer tried to close the deal.
When asked again to buy, the young lady said she was on social assistance and couldn’t possible afford it, even if she could qualify for the financing. The trainer assured her she would qualify, he would make sure of it!
The back and forth went on as the salesman tried to convince the young mother that she shouldn’t live without our vacuum cleaner until finally, he took the machine apart, dumped the contents of the dust chamber onto a white sheet he had set on the floor and said:
What kind of Mother would let her baby crawl around in that dirt?
The girl was in tears and agreed to fill out the form.
In a matter of moments, we were done and gone! The trainer turned to me in the car and said he had just made another $600 and that was $1200 so far that day. He said I was going to do the next sale.
I was about to burst! Instead of getting into a big argument, I said the job wasn’t for me and could he drop me off at the office. End of story!
Do you think the sales trainer was Selling with Integrity?
Don’t get me wrong, the vacuum cleaner was a very fine product, but I did not want to be that salesman or trained by him! His tactics may have gotten him the sale, but at what cost, not one I was willing to pay.
I believe a salesperson must have integrity. Of course, I try to overcome objections and try to close the sale. I will not insult or take advantage of people to get a sale. That’s Selling With Integrity!
Tactics like the one in my story will rarely work on a confident strong individual and I can think of many young women that would have tossed the guy out the house. The fact he would use such a tactic on that vulnerable young girl says more about him than her.
I like to feel that I have made a positive contribution when I sell my product or service. I also want to be viewed as a trusted advisor. It’s the only way to gain repeat customers, clients that truly appreciate the value you bring to their lives.
If you think about it, To Sell with Integrity is not the only way to make money selling, but the more honest and ethical you are, the better you will feel about yourself and that will help you be a more successful salesperson!
All The Best