Ethical and Moral Values for Salespersons

Sales and Consulting – Two Contrary Disciplines?

The scenario is the same everywhere: Clueless customers seek an expert consultation, and then they come across a commission based salesperson. Apparently, there is a conflict of interest.

The salesperson will earn the majority of his income from his commissions. These commissions will often mean that the customer walks home with a product which is not suited best for his use case. But is that necessary?

I propose that it is not. And here is why:
I act according to three basic principles. It does not matter what I do; I ask myself three questions:

  1. Is this what I do ethical?
  2. Is this what I do moral?
  3. Is this what I do legal?

If every salesperson asks him or herself these three questions, companies who are offering a lousy product will struggle to find salespersons. Because is it ethical to sell a product which is knowingly not the bad? So introducing and sticking to moral principles will already eliminate the active sales of disadvantageous products. A salesperson who adheres to ethical and moral principles will only sell the product which is advantageous to a potential customer. But what does he do if he faces the next dilemma – when two products are comparable and of the same quality?

Even though products may be on a comparable level, there are usually always small distinctions between these products. One product may offer one specific benefit which another product doesn’t provide. So should a salesperson withhold this feature of a competitor from a potential customer to drive his sales? Again, the salesperson should ask him or herself the three questions: Is it ethical, moral, and legal? Explaining the feature and referring to the competitor’s product might lead to the loss of commission. But it does not have to!

Honesty and Integrity of a Salesperson

A customer will realize deep within him or herself – the so-called gut feeling – whether a salesperson is honest or if he merely wants to sell his product. A customer who senses the empathy and the complete honesty of a salesperson might still purchase the product of him, and if the customer does not, he might refer friends and acquaintances to the salesperson as a competent, honest salesperson with integrity.

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”
–Bob Burg

Sell, Sell, Sell!

A salesperson who knows that his product is superior to the competition should without a second thought sell his product. Knowing that one’s product is the best choice for a customer and letting a customer walk home with the second best product of the competition is not ethical!

Yes, Ethical and Moral Principles are Required

I think that sticking to ethical and moral principles will lead to a win-win situation for both parties. Honesty might cost the salesperson the commission of a few products, he will walk home with a deep sense of fulfillment. Knowing that some customers now have the product which is the best suite for him or her. In the end, the customer will remember the honesty and integrity of the salesperson and the brand he represents. This will lead to a positive brand image and future sales for the salesperson.

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