We know how important ethics is in the contemporary business world, especially in the areas of sales and marketing. And we also know how films or TV shows portray this area as a pit full of unethical salesperson making the sale no matter what it takes.
Unfortunately, there can be a seed of truth to that stereotype. Occasionally, we can see businesses making headlines due to their unethical selling practices. The cynicism on salespeople has always been a challenge for many companies, but now it is more elevated than ever.
Today’s Role of Salespeople
Sales professionals are no longer tasked to inform their prospects beforehand; ultra-informed buyers are doing more research ahead of time before ever contacting a salesperson. While their research may not be all right, they think they have enough knowledge on what’s what. Today’s consumers are prepared – and sales professionals should come in as consultants if they want to be part of the decision-making process.
The impact of technology in the sales process means that if a salesperson takes ‘shortcut’, even if there’s a slight appearance of rudeness, it affects more than a single deal. The misconduct can impact the overall relationship, other relationships, the sales person’s reputation, and even the business’ long-term success. With the proliferation of social media among customers, news of unethical practice quickly spreads, and people are more than willing to keep the story fresh even offline.
Customers Buy Integrity
The unending challenge is that trust cannot be earned overnight, yet it only takes seconds to break it. Salespeople have to earn the word ‘trusted’ for the long haul. They have to be committed to providing great customer service, and to nurturing the ongoing relationship.
Customers remain loyal and engaged to salespeople who have integrity. There are customers who have a lower set of standards and will choose to buy from salespeople who have similar standards. However, salespeople who subscribe to the higher level of integrity are ones who typically achieve higher profit and growth margins than others in the industry.
In fact, a research examining 78 Australian organisations has provided hard evidence of the correlation between best-practice leadership and bottom-line results. The study, conducted by the University of NSW, Australian National University and Copenhagen Business School released in 2011, found that companies which focus on intangible assets such as innovation, leadership, fairness, employee and customer experience – as well as financial indicators – were nearly three times more profitable than their peers.
What Can Salespeople Do?
As buyers become more aware of the sales process, it’s extremely important for salespeople to improve their efforts and due diligence if they want to stay relevant in the competition. Salespeople certainly need to understand their own product or service, but they also have to learn about their customer’s needs, their environment, their buying behaviour, and not just who the salesperson is competing against.
There are two primary things an ethical person displays: character and competence.
Customers know when a salesperson is being deceitful, manipulative, or shortsighted. Their character emanates more than their slick sales pitch. So, while salespeople can’t claim the title of a ‘trusted consultant’, they can be trustworthy people. And they can show their competence through preparation and due diligence to not only understand their customer’s goals but to show they truly care about their customer’s business.
If you need help in improving your salespeople’s performance and soft-skills, contact Business Coaches Sydney today at 1300-833-574 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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