It is no accident that many successful sales force’s are highly ethical. When customers are treated the right way and their best interests are made a priority, they reward their suppliers with more business. Immoral and dishonest sales people don’t achieve long term success (and they certainly don’t sleep well at night), but getting your sales reps to be honest and behave ethically can be a challenge – the pressure to perform is high and short term success is often rewarded, and furthermore many sales people (and sales organizations, for that matter) see sales as a zero sum game where winning must be achieved at all costs – even at the cost of the customer’s best interests.
What are some of the things you can do to ensure your reps are behaving ethically?
1. Make Ethics Part of Your Culture– Use sales meetings and presentations as an opportunity to highlight the role ethics play in success and the importance to your organization. Showcase examples and talk through common philosophical challenges – ie situations where in order to make a quota, a rep may be tempted to close a piece of business that is not entirely in a customer’s best interests. Take ethics seriously and discuss it often.
2. Reward the Ethical Behavior – Not only encourage your reps to be transparent with customers and treat them with the highest level of care and respect, but find ways to reward reps for doing so. Competitions, spot prizes and public recognition will go a long way to helping set the tone. Also don’t be afraid to come down hard on offenders and those reps who repeatedly disregard the customers best interests.
3. Walk the Talk – Sales reps emulate the actions of those around them, so it is not enough to simply talk about the importance of ethics. As a sales leader, you have to lead by example in showing the highest level of integrity and professionalism. Talk up your customers and act in the exact way you want your reps to act.
If you create a culture of ethical sales, your customers will reward you.
To your success!
Image via winnond / 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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