You have probably encountered a few fellow sales reps who are working without strong sales ethics. Often, selling by any means necessary is how they believe deals are won, but is that really the best course of action? Not necessarily, according to Lestraundra Alfred, a writer for HubSpot Sales Blog. “Cutting corners with customers during the sales process doesn’t result in greater returns,” she writes. “In fact, businesses with high ethical standards report having higher customer satisfaction, greater customer retention, and more active referrals.” Additionally, this kind of behavior contributes to salespeople’s reputation of being pushy, aggressive and self-serving. None of those are adjectives that you want attached to your professional persona.
Sales ethics are vital to not only the reputation of the industry, but the overall satisfaction and success of you and your clients. Alfred shares ethical sales behaviors that she encourages readers to consider for their own business practices.
Sales Ethics That Will Help You Stay Ahead
No matter what mistake or misstep you may make, own up to it. This is basic sales ethics. Ducking from responsibility or shifting blame to someone else will not help you save face. Instead, you will come off to your clients as someone who is not trustworthy and would rather save face than focus on fixing the problem at hand. A much better course of action, according to Alfred, is “being accountable for your actions and offering a solution to remedy the situation is a more ethical approach.” Plus, your honesty shows that you have integrity and genuinely care about serving the client. Your clients want to work with someone who genuinely cares about helping them succeed. You promised that you were that person during the sales process. Now you need to make sure you're walking the walk that you talked about if you want to retain their business. And everyone knows that existing customers are easier to make sales to further down the line than starting from scratch with a new prospect.
Be fair when comparing competitors.
Badmouthing a competitor should never be a tactic to win business. While it’s important for salespeople to understand the competitive landscape, speaking poorly of or lying about a rival business are not OK. “When talking to customers, it’s important that you speak honestly about competitor offerings,” she advises. “Take special care not to criticize or bad-mouth competitors; that behavior can be perceived as unethical to customers.” This does not mean that you have to always give the competition glowing reviews either. She suggests that, when asked about a competitor, that you focus on your product or service’s standout features and benefits rather than badmouthing the alternative.
These are only two of the sales ethics suggested by Alfred. All of the ethics she talks about are important in ensuring that you uphold ethical behavior during the entire sales process. Not only will you be doing what is best for your clients, but also cementing your, and your company’s, reputation as trustworthy and credible.