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.