Who is the main connection between the company and the customer? The salesperson! A company’s ethics and integrity is based on the relationship between the salesperson and the customer. If you’re in sales, you’re the most important person in the company as far as your customers are concerned. You, most of all, have to “walk the talk” of ethical success.
When you take the high road to success, your goal is to build relationships that will last—and those are the relationships which pay off enormously in the long run. When your customers know they can trust you to be honest, to give them a fair deal, to listen to their concerns and deal equitably with them, they will stay with you throughout the ups and downs. They will become the loyal customers every salesperson seeks.
So, how do you build or maintain an ethical foundation that will make a lifelong customer? There are several questions you should ask whenever you interact with your clients.
1. Does your decision affect anyone else besides you and your bottom line?
Too many salespeople seem to live by the question, “What’s in it for me?” But is that the most important question to ask if you’re committed to building long-term relationships with your customers? The best decisions are customer-focused first. If a salesperson induces customers to load up on products during a promotion period when he or she knows it’s not in the customers’ best interests, it’s a type of cheating that can adversely affect the relationship. You must consider the effect your decisions will have on the company, the customer and on your own integrity.
What is good for the customer must always supersede what’s good for you. Ask yourself, “Will the greater good be for me or my customers?” And if you benefit a lot more than your customers, you’d better take another look at that course of action, for the degree you give is the degree you get.
2. Are you making sales or making customers?
Salespeople with short-term mentality focus on making the sale. Smart salespeople focus on creating customers who will come back again and again. When you “make” a customer, you have begun the process of establishing trust, the building block of any relationship. People won’t buy from people/companies they don’t trust. Conversely, once you’ve established that relationship of trust with your customers, they will stay with you through thick and thin. And the more loyal your customers are, the better your bottom line.
3. Are ethics and service intertwined? Are you filling your customers’ needs in an ethical manner?
Going the extra mile for your customers establishes a “value-added” attitude that will build trust, alleviate worry, and become the basis for other business. Prove how valuable each customer is to you by being honest, customer focused, and truly committed to helping meet or exceed your customers’ needs. This should be your goal in developing business.
Remember, if you help customers fulfill their needs, they will come back to you with their wants. How are needs fulfilled? By doing what you can to meet your customers’ timelines, requirements and expectations in an enthusiastic and ethical manner.
4. What is the PTP factor—the Price To Pay?
Whatever you do and in whatever you decide, you must always keep in mind the PTP. What is the Price to Pay for what you want to do? What will be the effect of your decision? Do you really want the sale at any cost? At the cost of your company’s integrity, or your own? At the cost of your reputation? If you can’t pay the price, then you need to walk away, or take some other action.
How can you tell if a decision is right or wrong? Just ask yourself this question: “Would I want my family and friends to know what I have done?” The decision that we make in hopes that no one finds out is usually wrong!
Here’s the easiest way to keep yourself on the high road to success: Always do what’s in the best interest of your customer, because it will always come back to you. Make goodwill an active part of your business plan. Ask yourself, “What can I do for this customer so he or she will want to cooperate with me?” Your emphasis must go into relationship building, not into the sale of just products or services. Your customers will want to do business with you long-term if you make them feel good and if they believe you can be trusted to give the very best advice, service and product. Create customers, not sales. Build relationships first—and the sales will follow naturally!