Managers and leaders play a critical role in setting the tone for the ethical climate in sales. Colleen Francis, good friend and author of Honesty Sells, states “Those who are in the top 10% of the sales profession have mastered the art of open, honest communication with their clients.”
Is your team in that 10%?
Are you modeling ethical behavior? Allowing for extensions on sales quotas, backdating contracts, or permitting a sleazy rep to thrive, demonstrate the philosophy that “cheating” is acceptable. Make sure the behavior you exhibit is the behavior you want modeled by your reps.
To ensure that the principles of your sales team jibes with the company philosophy, set formal ethical standards. Include an ethics clause on job descriptions, and discuss sales morality during team meetings.
Countless reps have come into our offices for interviews and quickly demonstrated that they have fabricated many of the achievements they touted. It follows that the best reps admit their failures and are honest about their experiences.
Where does it start?
Sure it starts with each and every one of us, but individual responsibility goes hand in hand with company standards. If we want our reps to be ethical, then we as sales managers have to lead by example. Be honest and open with customers, partners, and team members. You’ll be rewarded with a happy team and repeat sales.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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