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Shane Gibson Keynote Speaker | Social Selling | Sales Trainer | Social Media Strategy

Monthly Archives / July 2008

  • Jul 26 / 2008
  • Comments Off on Blogathon Entry #7 – Ethical Question
Blogathon 2008, Leadership, Sales Articles, Sales Blog

Blogathon Entry #7 – Ethical Question

Raul submitted a great question and comment that I want to address:

Is deviance from truly ethical behavior appropriate or inappropriate, in the end? I kind of feel it is somewhat inappropriate.

This question was posed in context of my four part blog entry on ethics in selling.  Lets look at deviance for a moment.  Dictionary.com defines it as “One that differs from a norm, especially a person whose behavior and attitudes differ from accepted social standards.”  In my opinion deviating from social norms, politically correct pressures, or cultural traditions (including corporate culture) is not necessarily a bad thing in business and in life.  Alexander Graham Bell was seen as a deviant in many aspects, so was Martin Luther King.

For me Raul’s question made me think of the Dalai Lama’s comments on creating Karma.  For good or bad karma to be created he states, there are three elements. #1) Intent #2) Action #3) Result.  I think as we look at the result of our actions, in causing harm to others, or advancing at the loss of others with harmful or un-ethical behavior and succeeding in doing so then this behavior is absolutely inappropriate.  So in short, next time one feels like labeling someone a deviant the questions we must ask are “What was their intent?”…”Did they act upon this intent?” and “Did their actions cause harm or suffering to others?”

This is blogathon entry number 7 for the MSMF Blogathon.  Visit this page to learn how you can support this cause.

  • Jul 26 / 2008
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Ethics in Selling Part 4

Genuinely Ethical:

The genuinely ethical person has a well-calibrated moral compass—a compass only points in the right direction. Genuinely ethical people not only see the right direction, they consistently choose to follow that direction. Their motivation is based not upon avoiding punishment or being “found out.” They realize that true stable wealth and success is built upon timeless principles and a solid foundation built by the application of these principles.

Often a strong ethical foundation starts with putting non-economic social values ahead of economic drivers or personal gain. This can also be seen as a short-term definition. People in a sales environment who consistently take ethical action maintain their personal integrity and reap other somewhat intangible rewards for taking this path over time.

Principle 1: Trust is the number one sales currency

Cost: A client can have every logical reason to do business with us, but if they do not feel you are trust-worthy and you lack a professional or community reputation, very few will work with you. Without trust, it takes many small trial runs, small purchase orders, and often ironclad legal agreements before we can move forward on a deal. This lack or reputation or brand goodwill slows deals down and often makes them smaller and less lucrative. If we make statements that are untrue, only partially true or withhold important information, the client will eventually discover it and either sever the relationship or micro-manage us in every aspect.

Benefit: People, who make promises, keep commitments, disclose the whole truth and effectively represent the interests of their clients and the company, will over time build strong personal goodwill in the marketplace. When clients trust us, they share more information with us. With that information we can then provide them better results with our products and solutions. Also, with increased knowledge of the client, we understand how to better help them and serve their needs. With better results, we get an increased level of trust in relationships and then even more information—it is a cycle that continues.

With trust in us, our clients do not have to doubt and worry—they can focus on other business or personal activities. This adds a lot of emotional value to the client. In addition to this, orders are often more frequent and larger as trust enables the client to make more accurate projections on what we are capable of delivering.

Principle 2: There are no secrets
Cost: Secrets, lies and half-truths; if you know about any or have figured it out, somebody else will too. If you and someone else know about a “secret”, you have to assume that more people will be told and/or know. Very few people are able to keep a secret from their spouse, friends, and coworkers. Whether you live in Kipling, Saskatchewan or New York, New
York, you are living in a place too small to not be found out! News travels fast through business and social networks, professional associations, religious affiliations, and Internet communities such as chat rooms.

Benefit: Do good, keep your commitments; consistently make your decisions with a social and environmental conscious. When people trust you, they talk favorably about you, and the end result is they build your good reputation for you. A famous quote by William Shakespeare encapsulates what most people believe: “Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.” In other words, be empathetic, be friendly, but be careful who you represent and support. Before people endorse us, they must implicitly trust us or risk tarnishing their own reputation.

Principle 3: The end goal is to be happy

Cost: We can cut corners, lie to people, cheat and get the financial prize but the prize will never be enough. They sacrifice their dignity to get there. Most people think “I’ll be happy when _____________________!” (Fill in the financial or career goal). When they get there, they are still not happy. Inside they feel like a fake, they carry with them remorse, bad press, and
damaged relationships, some even have to leave town with their prize after they burn their socio-economic bridges. Their end goal was happiness—they thought happiness was a new address, a financial figure, or the kind of car they drive. Happiness is a state of mind and this is something alone money cannot buy. This is where the statement “it is lonely at the top” comes from!

Benefit: When we authentically achieve success and contribute to the well-being of others, it creates a sense of peace and confidence. We develop a real sense of self (or self-esteem) and can confidently determine what we are capable of. Our success feels real, and we are free of remorse, regret, and have further strengthened our socio-economic ties in our community. We get our end goal and peace of mind too. The big bonus is our social networks stay intact—we can share our success and bring people with us!


One question that a Board of Trade often asks their new members is: “Are you in business for a year or a decade?” The reason they ask this question is to get people to realize the long-term impact of their sales and marketing activities. Often people measure success so short-term that it is a detriment to their career or business success in the long-term.

This is Blog Entry #6 for the Vancouver Blogathon. A 24 hour blogging marathon for charity. Please check out my charity the MSMF foundation and help us bring hope and prosperity to children in rural India.

  • Jul 26 / 2008
  • 5
Blogathon 2008, Sales Articles, Sales Blog

Ethics in Selling Part 3 – Sales Blog Entry

The Situationally Ethical Sales Person:

Situational ethics relies on one principle—what best serves oneself at a given time or in a given circumstance. This person’s behavior rises and falls as they tend to justify the deviance from true ethical behavior based upon each circumstance. Comments from situationally ethical people may include:
• “If I didn’t take advantage of this someone else would!”
• “It’s just business, don’t take this personally.”
• “It’s only illegal if you get caught.”
• “They won’t know the difference between the old stock and the new stock; we can easily charge the same price.”
• “This is the only way to get ahead today…. Everyone else is taking shortcuts!”
These people blend into society and have the veneer (appearance) that they are just like you and I. Although they understand right from wrong, and often weigh the crime against the potential punishment, deep down their choice is unethical as long as their exposure to risk is low or non-existent. Even when caught, this fraudster will often justify their actions playing the victim of society or the mega-corporation for which they work. Their actions may have come from a feeling of desperation or being “caught.” When issues like addiction in the workplace (i.e. drugs, gambling, and alcohol) come into play, their recklessness or behaviors often become more risky as they look for a quick exit, or out of desperation are looking for more funds to fuel their habits.

The situationally ethical person is not without hope. Often this person has formed a false belief that they can only get ahead if others lose. They could also have low selfworth or self-esteem and not believe that they can achieve success legitimately. Taking some of the steps described in other modules around building self-confidence and associating with positive and successful people can be a first step to moving toward a more confident and productive mental picture of ourselves.

Association (people who we connect with over time) can also erode one’s moral compass. Another cause of situational ethics is caused by social or peer ethics. Who we socialize with, their conversations, personal beliefs and ethics can begin to warp our own outlook. In the instance of the Enron Scandal, many otherwise law-abiding citizens accepted and enabled the behaviors of senior management because it became a cultural norm or social ethic. The situationally ethical person can change their associations, find new positive peopleor organizations to work with and over time this new environment can help them develop a more accurate and healthy set of personal and business ethical boundaries.

This is Blog Entry #5 for the Vancouver Blogathon. A 24 hour blogging marathon for charity. Please check out my charity the MSMF foundation and help us bring hope and prosperity to children in rural India.

  • Jul 26 / 2008
  • 12
Blogathon 2008, Sales Articles, Sales Blog, Uncategorized

Ethics in Selling Part 2 – Sales Blog Entry

There are various categories of Ethical Behavior:
• Unethical – me motivated
• Situationally Ethical – contextually motivated
• Genuinely Ethical – greater good motivated Unethical
Unethical people are solely motivated by what serves them. Depending on the degree of selfishness, level of crime, or moral rules they break, these people are often referred to as “Sharks, Hedonists or Corporate Psychopaths”. These people knowingly lie, manipulate, cheat, or steal, both in the workplace and in their personal life. They view people as objects to be used and exploited, then disposed of after they are finished. The most extreme are the corporate psychopaths who leave a trail of corporate carnage. Purposefully broken promises, intentionally lying to staff, clients, and the authorities to advance their career and or their corporate bottom-line with a win-lose mentality, they lack a moral compass. They may be psychologically incapable of empathy; their behavior is driving share value, revenues, and crushing competitors, using all means possible.

Those who hire unethical people often revere them for a short period of time as they tend to be results-oriented people. Without the confines of ethical, environmental, or legal restrictions, profits may appear in the short term. However, the company eventually suffers for collecting funds without a conscience, and inevitably lawsuits, government intervention, criminal charges, and consumer backlash all follow. There are a series of high-profile ethics cases in the United States where people are now spending a lifetime in jail, while the corporation sits in receivership (bankruptcy). One such case is the Enron Scandal.

Next Blog Entry “The Situationally Ethical” person.

This is Blog Entry #4 for the Vancouver Blogathon. A 24 hour blogging marathon for charity.  Please check out my charity the MSMF foundation and help us bring hope and prosperity to children in rural India.

  • Jul 25 / 2008
  • Comments Off on Ethics in Selling – Sales Blog Entry
Blogathon 2008, Leadership, Sales Articles, Sales Blog

Ethics in Selling – Sales Blog Entry

This is a four part series on ethics in selling, made up from various notes and thoughts that I am compiling into a training and development program:

Intro to sales ethics:

What are ethics? Ethical behavior can be described as conforming to accepted standards of social or professional actions. Therefore unethical behavior is viewed as wrong, not conforming to accepted standards or professional actions, contrary to conscience, or morality, or law.

There is no such thing as “ethical selling.” You are either ethical as a person or you are not. The issue of discussing ethics in sales somewhat misses the global aspect of the concept of ethics. Whether we are in the office or at home, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we are judged by our behavior. Our personal friends and community network and our business network are inseparably integrated. Ethics have no boundaries as we live in a globally connected world.

In the NHL (National Hockey League) if a player is convicted of drinking and driving, the league suspends them. Although the unethical activity occurred outside of work hours, the league understands the impact of a team member’s behavior on the sport. We are always representing our organization’s brand—even when we are not in uniform. Conversely non-business activities like volunteering at your local soup kitchen to help
feed the homeless, or with a local community group, positively affects your personal and business brand.

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