All my life I preach integrity. I have peace when I don’t breach integrity. – Dr Cosmas Maduka
A sales manager once argued in a training session I conducted for their company that honest people don’t meet their sales target. He took that position to counter my opinion that salesmen must always ensure a high level of integrity in their selling. I think his point of view is absurd!
I don’t believe in joining the majority who are wrong, even when I am the lone voice. So, I took time to explain to the manager and other participants that, for every reason the salesman has to be deceitful, there are several other reasons available to be sincere.
Credibility is a product. You must sell it to the buyer before he buys what you are selling. It is better to tell the truth and explain your reasons, than to be deceitful and lose out entirely. Lies cannot be hidden forever. The truth will surely be revealed; it will only take time.
Credibility always wins
A man of integrity can be pardoned in his mistakes because he conceals nothing. He tells the truth the way it is. People will naturally understand his shortcomings because they believe he is genuine. But a dishonest fellow may never get a second chance! Folks run away from insincere people. This is my experience in life.
Credibility is a character trait you don’t pick up on the street. It is also a quality you shouldn’t expect from everyone. It is one of the greatest personal attributes. People who have discovered this secret of success are often outstanding individuals. Be credible in what you do. Be a man or woman of great character. In the final analysis, people will flock around individuals they can trust.
Be credible, even in tough situations
Credibility is one of the great attributes that sustain patronage in business. Dr Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, says, ‘‘In order to gain someone’s trust you must be both credible and knowledgeable. This often involves presenting your information in an unbiased way. Let your prospect know first what you can’t do. Before the most compelling portion of your argument, mention the weakness and drawbacks of your product or service.’’
It takes great character traits to let your customer know about your weakness. It does not depict weakness when you express the true situation of things; rather, it shows courage.
It is never advisable to conceal the fact in your dealings with your customer. The real position of things should be brought to the table if the salesman desires a long-lasting business relationship. Let your customer or prospect know the truth. Don’t allow him discover the hidden truth himself.
Truth is a consistent phenomenon. The truth of yesterday will remain same till tomorrow; it doesn’t change. A salesman who has succeeded in selling himself as a credible fellow in the minds of his customers will go a long way with them. Half-truth is inconsistent; but truth stands out. Salespeople should always tell their customers or prospects the truth; this boosts credibility.
No matter how tough it might seem to you, make sure you don’t compromise your integrity in your dealings with people. Simply put, in the words of the legendary Chinua Achebe, ‘‘One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.’’ Do not fall to the temptation of compromising your personality – even when you think it is the way out. Temptation will naturally come but don’t give in.
One of the best ways to handle tough situations is to tell the other party the challenges you have in the issue. This is being sincere. People follow honest people.
Credibility sustains relationship
Customers will always stick with you when they notice that you don’t take advantage of them. Top Salesmen often get good referrals from their customers because the customers see the salesmen as credible individuals.
Salespeople sometimes make the mistake of misrepresenting issues just to impress the customer or prospect. The risk here is that when the person you want to impress by giving him false information eventually finds out the truth, the consequences are usually enormous. The company might not only lose the customer but stand a risk of the customer spreading bad news about the organisation. Some companies have negative corporate image because their salespeople are not getting it right out there. Some organisations have lost people’s confidence because salesmen are selling the wrong way.
Salespeople must resist the temptation of claiming things their products do not represent, just because they want to make sales. Don’t over-promise your customer or prospect.
Every customer is looking out for a particular benefit before going for any product. The customer expects your product to provide solutions to his needs, which is why he bought the product in the first place. The person buying your product will be disappointed if what you promised about your product is not what he gets.
One unsatisfied customer is equal to several lost sales. When a customer is not happy with a product or service, he tells his friends about his experience and the bad news goes on. It has a chain reaction.
Tell the truth always. Say only the things your products can do. It is better you under-promise and over-perform, than to over-promise and under-perform.
The marketplace has changed a lot. Competition is at its highest level and competing brands are looking for opportunities to edge out other brands in the market. Don’t play the game the wrong way. Try to win your customer or prospect to your side. It is only when both parties are genuinely happy that the patronage will continue. Experience teaches that a happy customer will make a repeat purchase.
George O. Emetuche is a Brian Tracy endorsed bestselling author, accredited training consultant, life coach, sales and marketing expert.
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