Sales Ethics: Oxymoron or Opportunity

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Frank Bucaro, CSP, CPAE

A study in Business Horizons magazine from Indiana University, found that customers increasingly base their buying decisions on whether they believe a company is ethical. Cynicism promotes fickle buying habits. “corporations wishing to improve their relationship with the public, must let stakeholders know when they participate in undertakings that benefit the commonwealth.” advises the magazine.

Companies that take the “high road”, will make lifelong customers out of even the most distrusting consumers. Who is the main connection between the company and the customer? The Salesperson! A company’s ethics and integrity are based on the relationship between the salesperson and the customer. How does one build or maintain an ethical foundation that will make a lifelong customer?

Here are four “ethics questions” that may help in establishing this kind of relationship.

1. Does my decision affect anyone else besides myself and the bottom line?

If a salesperson reports selling more item that he/she actually sold, or induces customers to “load up” on products during a promotion period, it is a type of cheating that affects many people in adverse ways.

One must consider the effect of one’s decision on the company, the customer and on one’s own integrity. The best decisions are made when one becomes “other-focused”, or customer focused, if you will. Will the greater good be for you or your customer??

The overall goal needs to be – What can I do for you, to get you to cooperate with me? For life isn’t in the getting, but in the giving! For to the degree that you give is to the degree you get!

2. How do you become successful? Making sales or making loyal customers?

When you “make” a customer, you have begun the process of establishing a trust dimension. This trust becomes the basis for not only your business, friendships as well.

Trust is the basic building block of any...
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