I credit a lot of my selling success to the fact that I tried constantly to sell with integrity. Situations where you stray from that approach will eventually take a toll on your own attitude and create other problem issues and your selling will suffer.
What does selling with integrity mean? There are several things. It means being honest about your services or products. It’s OK to spin things slightly as most of us do this to emphasize the benefits and minimize the not so perfect features, but take care not to over-spin. The picture of your products or services must be accurate, or you are setting yourself up for problems in the long term (or maybe even short term) that will ruin your relationships. And I believe excellent customer relationships are still the heart of selling. No one likes to buy and find out later that they were sold a bill of goods. It hurts them personally. And since they made the buying decision, it often hurts their reputation with their own management, which to most people is even more important, and generates the kind of resentment toward you resentment that will kill future sales.
Also respect your customer’s confidentiality. In the course of sales calls you will be told things that you realize should be kept confidential, even if they are not put to you that way. It is very important not to pass on those things to others outside of your own company. Not only is revealing confidential information wrong, but if you start talking about those things with other customers, I guarantee it will come back to bite you. Many people you call on will often change jobs and move from one customer to another in the same industry, often multiple times. All it takes is for one of those people to find out you have discussed information about their old workplace at the new company where they now work, and your reputation is shot. They will not be willing to share things with you that may be critical to your selling efforts.
Don’t denigrate your competition in front of your customers. No one respects that. If one of your customers talks badly about one of your competitors, say nothing, just listen. File it away and you may find the information will help you when competing with that particular competitor at another place. It’s OK to use that information without spreading it.
“Under promise and over deliver” is a great selling maxim and a cornerstone of selling integrity. If you are always producing more than your customers or clients expect it really enhances future selling situations.
Excellent reputations are built on your integrity in your business dealings every day, and are almost impossible to regain when lost. Protect yours by striving to treat all your contacts with the utmost integrity. You will find repeat selling becomes much easier as people get to know you and realize they can always trust and respect you.
Additional thoughts are offered in my book, 5 Star Selling: From Beginning to Excellence