The world’s view of salespeople has been tainted by the few bad apples. You know the ones: The pushy, self-centered salespeople who are only in this business to make a paycheck by any means possible. It’s a tough stereotype to overcome, and that’s why Jay Fuchs, writing for HubSpot, says your integrity really needs to shine through during every sales pitch. There are a few keys to selling with integrity.
Belief in What You’re Selling
Selling with integrity means that you have to be well-versed in your product or service so you know that it’s worth the money you’re asking for it. Not only that, you have to thoroughly research each potential prospect before you request a meeting with them. That way, you know from the moment you first make contact that your product or service is a good fit for them and is one of the best options available to fulfill their needs.
Don’t be like those salespeople who call anyone they can for a sales meeting and then attempt to sell prospects a product or service they may not even need. You’ll look ill-prepared and your lack of integrity will be compromised to the point that, even if you shape up in the future, they will refuse to meet with you again.
Respect Your Competition
Your competitors are obviously a touchy subject for you. They’ve likely been the reason you’ve had to lower your prices during past negotiations or cost you the sale entirely. When they get brought up during your sales pitches, you could be tempted to speak your mind about them and put them down. However, selling with integrity means you are respectful in every situation, even toward people you may harbor grudges against.
“It's tempting to totally downplay the competition's merit and present your product or service as the be-all, end-all option in your space,” says Fuchs. “But there's no integrity in that. Instead, you need to understand what differentiates your offering and be able to articulate how and why it suits your prospect's specific needs.” If you address your prospect’s comments about your competition’s similar products or services with a level head and fact-driven points instead of emotionally-driven slander, your professionalism and integrity will shine through and make the prospect more comfortable about doing business with you.
Don’t Push the Sale
A common mistake salespeople make is trying to close the sale too quickly says Lisa Leitch, a sales strategist at Teneo Results. If your prospect is openly upset with their current provider and is talking about features and services that provider is lacking and that you can provide, it can be tempting to jump the gun and lay your offer on the table based on this information. The problem is, you’re still lacking more critical information about the prospect’s business needs.
Leitch says that the proper way to respond to this seemingly perfect scenario is to say something along the lines of, “We believe we can help. Before we begin to talk about our solutions and service levels, there are several questions we would like to ask to gain a better understanding of your business, the future state of your operation, and what it would take to earn your business. Then we can schedule a meeting to come back and present a working proposal to meet and even exceed your expectations.”
If you speak too soon, you could be costing yourself a larger sale that will better fit your prospect’s needs. Selling with integrity will keep you from moving the sale forward before getting all the information you need about the prospect and their wants and needs. In an ideal world, that will reveal an even bigger sale. But it could also show that you can’t meet every want and need that the prospect was hoping to fulfill through a business relationship with you.
When a prospect seems to be losing interest or it becomes apparent that they don’t need your product or service, it can be difficult to continue selling with integrity. You could be tempted to lose your composure in your frustration or even twist the truth to make your product or service seem more appealing. “If you make promises you can't keep or promote features that won't live up to the expectations you set, you're probably going to wind up with some disgruntled customers,” says Fuchs. “There's a good chance they might be inclined to move on from your product or service quickly and leave some negative reviews on their way out.”
For the sake of your business relationship with this prospect and your reputation, you need to remain honest and courteous. So, they didn’t agree to this particular sale today. If you maintain your integrity, you can always try for another sale further down the line when a new need arises or another product or service comes around.