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Ethical Selling: Putting Your Interest to the Side

June 18, 2018 // R. Shawn McBride

***NOTE: This is part of a multi-article series on ethics in selling. The Our Shawn provides keynotes and other programs on ethical selling and he brings you some of his thoughts and findings here. Make sure you check out all of the articles at our blog. If you need more assistance call us for an appointment.***

Think about an interaction with a salesperson you hated. Not the person, necessarily, but the interaction.

Think on it…

What happened?  Why were you offended?

Now…

Did you feel like that salesperson was your advocate? Were they doing what was best for you with no self interest?

If you are like most folks your bad sales experience likely related to a salesperson that was looking out for themselves – often by being pushy, not listening or having a bad attitude (or a combination of the 3) – and it really bothered you.

Almost everyone that dislikes salespeople dislikes how they are treated or the communication with the sales person.

Usually there isn’t even time to consider the person themselves (are they ethical, etc.)?

Do you want to be liked or disliked by your prospects?

I would hope most of us want to serve those we get those we work with and be liked by them!

But many sales people either over or under emphasize this. Either they just want to be liked and spend too much time on being liked without getting into substance and service or they think their product or service should speak for itself so they don’t have to be liked.

The good stuff is in the middle. You need to be liked and deliver.

And being liked – beyond the surface and for what you can really do and how you can really serve – will lead to great long-term sales relationships.

Beyond being liked, you have an ethical duty

Being liked by your prospect feels good, it is respectful, and follows the golden rule. And it can lead to lots of money.

Also putting your prospect first is the ethical right thing to do.

In sales we know being known, liked and trusted is key to closing the sale. And with trust comes responsibility.

Don’t talk yourself out of it either and lower your duties. If you are trusted you have to do the right thing! That’s ethics – doing the right thing with others’ trust.

Thinking about them and not you

I hope that thinking of how your prospects trust you gives you some pause — and inspires you to do better.

And you can do better by taking the time to think about your prospect and their position – not your position or needs – their need, wants and resources.

You should come up with ways to make them first and you second.

With human nature this is easier said than done, so here are a few specific things you can do:

  1. Stop and think about your prospect’s position and needs;
  2. Drill with a partner on your sales process and find out if you are thinking of you or them in your actions and words. A third party will tell you how your actions actually feel. (BONUS: drilling will help you close more sales); and
  3. Set criteria for who you serve so you aren’t tempted to take the money or work with someone that isn’t a fit for you.

Those 3 simple steps will help you be more ethical and they’ll make you a better salesperson.

With great power comes…

If you have great power you have great responsibility.  And I believe as salespeople we do have great power. A bad salesperson could easily persuade someone to buy things they don’t need.

So we must do the right things and be ethical.

Are you building your business?  Would building a better organization make your life better?  If so our Fastlane Course is for you.

The Our Shawn

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