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September 22 2019.
Ethics in selling.

Number of the senior managers I come across, believe that in sales, you can't be completely truthful and still be successful.

I wonder, if they right?

I'll try to give you a completely honest answer.

But first, I can't resist quoting one of the famous Harvard Professor (Theodore Lewitt) who considers "Selling, concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about."

Recognising that there is something ugly about this approach, senior management sometimes choose to ignore the organisation's top-line activities as they would themselves will be linked to some of the questionable tactics & activities. Therefore many of them turn a blind eye to a number of questionable sales activities, which are run right under there nose. And salespeople take this behaviour, along with the senior's relentless pressure on meeting sales targets, as tacit permission to fudge the truth.

We experience the results of this vicious cycle--salespeople in the financial services industry or at the year/month end behaviour of sales people in other industry's where targets are sought to be met without enough attention to customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately the basic premise behind all this is false. Complete honesty in sales and success aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, if you've gained your success with even a little bit of dishonesty, I feel it's not really success. Be straight with the customer. Let him or her see both the upside and the downside to using your products.

If you're a manager, remember that your words and behavior--not to forget what you don't say and don't do--sends a clear message to the front end sales about how we should sell and how truthful we should be. If you take your top-line responsibilities seriously and encourage ethical selling, front end sales will be honest with customers and trust them to make the best choices for themselves--and to trust that those choices will benefit the company in long term.

Ethics needs to be the highest priority in selling, to protect the company's reputation; attracting and keeping customers comes second; and profit should come third. But if you delegate your top-line responsibilities or avoid delving too deeply into them, front end sales gets the message, and starts finding innovative ways to manipulate & deceive customers.

Ethical selling, it may appear to be an utopian dream, but believe me it helps in the long term. You may loose a customer today, but you will gain a client for long term.

With experience of two decades, read "How we help our clients" to improve business.




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