Sales ethics : how to sell effectively while doing the right thing

Sales Ethics
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Is it right? Is it fair? Is it equitable? Is it honest? Is it good for people? These are all questions of ethics. Ethics is doing the right thing, even if it is difficult or is not to your advantage. Ethics comes into play in the decisions you make every day. Each of these is an ethical dilemma A situation in which options are presented which may be right or wrong. You make your decision about which path to take based on your personal ethics; your actions reflect your own moral beliefs and moral conduct.

Your ethics are developed as a result of your family, church, school, community, and other influences that help shape your personal beliefs—that which you believe to be right versus wrong. You would like people to be honest with you, so be honest with others. Your strong sense of personal ethics can help guide you in your decisions. You might be surprised to find yourself with an ethical dilemma about something that is second nature to you.

Now you have to decide what to do. But compromising your ethics even just once is a slippery slope. The idea is that one thing leads naturally to allowing another until you find yourself sliding rapidly downhill. A highly developed set of personal ethics should guide your actions. The only way to develop a strong sense of ethics is to do what you believe in, to take actions consistent with your principles time and time again. So if you buy the paper and get caught, you will not only fail the class, but you may also find yourself expelled from school.

Southern Illinois University SIU had three high-ranking officials—a university president and two chancellors—revealed as plagiarists in a two-year period. Even more embarrassing, the committee formed to investigate the charges of plagiarism against Chancellor Walter Wendler developed a new plagiarism policy whose parts were plagiarized—specifically, it copied its academic dishonesty policy from Indiana University without citing that source. SIU was made a laughingstock, and its reputation has suffered considerably. Academic dishonesty is not a gamble worth taking; though many students are tempted at some point, those who give in usually regret it.

Unethical behavior Acting in a way that is not responsible or deemed to be the standard of what is right, good, and fair. Even celebrities such as Wesley Snipes, Willie Nelson, and Darryl Strawberry have fallen from grace in the eyes of the public and learned the hard way that unethical—and in their cases, illegal—behavior such as tax evasion can result in a prison term.

The consequences of unethical behavior can range from embarrassment to suspension, loss of job, or even jail time, depending on the act. Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York, admitted that he violated his personal ethics and those of his office when he resigned in March because of alleged involvement in a sex ring. His disgrace was the topic of many conversations about ethics. This video includes interviews about ethics and perceptions of Eliot Spitzer and his actions.

Being ethical means you will do the right thing regardless of whether there are possible consequences—you treat other people well and behave morally for its own sake, not because you are afraid of the possible consequences. Simply put, people do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Ethical decisions are not always easy to make, depending on the situation. There are some gray areas depending on how you approach a certain situation. For example, if one of your best friends told you in confidence that he stole the questions to the final exam would you say nothing, use them, or report him?

Reporting him would be the right thing to do. This is the gray area where your personal ethics come into play. While you might be concerned about jeopardizing your friendship, it would be a small price to pay compared with jeopardizing your personal ethics. Ethics apply to businesses as well personal behavior. Business ethics The application of ethical behavior by a business or in a business environment. An ethical business not only abides by laws and appropriate regulations, it operates honestly, competes fairly, provides a reasonable environment for its employees, and creates partnerships with customers, vendors, and investors.

In other words, it keeps the best interest of all stakeholders All parties that have a stake in an organization including employees, customers, investors, the community, and others. An ethical organization operates honestly and with fairness.

Some characteristics of an ethical company include the following:. Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, HealthSouth, and Lehman Brothers among other companies, have been highlighted in the news during the past several years due to unethical behavior that resulted in corporate scandals and, in some cases, the conviction of senior executives and collapse of some companies. While business has never been immune from unethical behavior, it was the fall of Enron in that brought unethical business behavior on the part of senior executives to the forefront.

Enron began as a traditional energy company in But when energy markets were deregulated prices were determined based on the competition rather than being set by the government in , Enron grew rapidly. The company began to expand to areas such as Internet services and borrowed money to fund the new businesses.

The debt made the company look less profitable, so the senior management created partnerships in order to keep the debt off the books. This accounting made Enron look extremely profitable—it appeared to have tripled its profit in two years. As a result, more people bought stock in the company. This lack of disclosure is against the law, as publicly traded companies are required to disclose accurate financial statements to shareholders and the SEC.

The stock price continued to fall, and the company was unable to repay its commitments to its shareholders. As a result of this unethical and illegal behavior on the part of senior management, the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The unethical and illegal behavior of the senior management team caused a ripple effect that resulted in many innocent people losing their money and their jobs. As a result of the Enron scandal, a new law named the Sarbanes-Oxley Act Regulation of corporate financial practices and protection for people who report violations.

All the time he was stealing from his clients and spending the money. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to years in jail, and his key employees were also sentenced to similar terms. Julie Creswell and Landon Thomas Jr. Not all behavior that is unethical is illegal. Companies frequently are faced with ethical dilemmas that are not necessarily illegal but are just as important to navigate.

For example, if a travel company wants to attract a lot of new customers, it can honestly state the price of a trip to Disney World in its advertising and let customers decide if they want to purchase the trip. This would be ethical behavior. Or if an appliance store wants to get new customers by advertising a low-priced refrigerator, it is an ethical way to let customers know that the company has competitively priced appliances as well.

However, if the store only has a higher-priced refrigerator in stock and tries to sell that one instead, it is unethical behavior. Sometimes ethical behavior can be a matter of disclosure, as in the case of Enron, Bernie Madoff, or the examples above. Business ethics can also be challenged based on business practices. For example, in the s Nike was accused of exploiting workers in third-world countries to manufacture their products. While this is not illegal behavior—they were paying the workers—it was considered unethical because they were paying the workers less than what is reasonable.

Another example of unethical behavior is not disclosing information. For example, if a car salesperson knows that a used car he is selling has been in an accident but says that it has not been involved in an accident, that is unethical. Bribing an executive, saying or promising things that are knowingly untrue, or treating employees unfairly are all examples of unethical behavior in business.

You may choose to shop at companies because of their business practices. For example, you might like The Body Shop because of its commitment to selling products that do not use animals for testing. This is a case of ethical behavior that is socially responsible. In fact, corporate social responsibility CSR Company actions that balance the interests of all stakeholders. Keep in mind that in order to be socially responsible a company has to balance the social, economic, and environmental dimensions, which means generating a profit for investors while serving the best interest of all parties that have a stake in the operations of the company.

When companies measure the impact of their performance along the three dimensions of social, economic, and environmental impact, it is called the triple bottom line Measurement of company performance along three dimensions—social, economic, and environmental. There are many companies that make a commitment to social responsibility and the triple bottom line.

The impact of ethical behavior by companies cannot be underestimated. In successful companies ethics is so integrated into the organization that it defines how every employee from CEO to the lowest-level employee behaves. Ethics is not a separate topic but is incorporated into company strategy. The company makes ethics part of every activity from strategic planning to operational execution. It is times like these that can challenge many companies that do not have this kind of ethical commitment.

With pressure on short-term results, many companies set unrealistic goals and employees feel extreme pressure to meet them or face the possibility of losing their jobs. But ethical behavior and integrity are clearly linked to profitability. One of the most visible positions in any organization in terms of ethics is sales. What the salesperson says and does is a direct reflection of the organization and its ethics. Consider this ethical dilemma if you were a real estate agent.

You have just landed a fantastic listing: a home that in the hot neighborhood that will surely sell quickly and yield a nice commission for you. The seller tells you that the home inspector suspects there is insect damage to the siding of the house, but the seller says she has never had any problems. Also, the seller feels so strongly about not disclosing this information to prospective buyers that she said she would rather go with a different agent if you insist on disclosing the possible insect damage.

What would you do? Either withholding or falsifying information is lying and therefore unethical. Imagine that you are a financial planner responsible for managing your clients assets. One of your clients is a very conservative investor; right now you are not making much money from his account. You have an opportunity to sell him a high-return investment, but the risk is far greater than you think he would normally take. You think you can sell him on it if you leave out just a few details during your conversation. This could be a win-win situation.

Should you give him your pitch with a few factual omissions or just make the investment and tell him after the money starts rolling in? Mark P. What should you do? Even though the result of the investment could be a good one, it is your obligation to provide full disclosure of the risk and let the customer make the investment decision.

You should never make assumptions and decisions on behalf of your customers without their consent. If you are frustrated about your lack of income on the account, you might not be the best financial planner for him. You should have an honest conversation with him and perhaps suggest a colleague or other planner that might be a better fit for his investment strategy. What if your employer asked you to do something that you are not comfortable doing? But the deadline is only two days away, and none of your customers is ready to make a purchase.

Then you remember talking to one of the administrators, and she mentioned the need for donations. It would help the school during this challenging financial crisis and it would be more inclined to make a purchase quickly. This could be a good move for everyone. When you are in sales, you are not only representing yourself, but you are also representing your company. Although it appears that all parties will benefit from the donation, it is not ethical for the school, you, or your company to make an exchange like that.

Donations should be made with no strings attached. You might miss the opportunity to earn your bonus this year, but you will learn valuable lessons to make next year an even better sales year. It was an expensive restaurant, and the two of you thoroughly enjoyed yourselves; you had steak, wine, and a chocolate dessert. After all, you make a lot of money for the company and have been working a lot of nights and weekends lately.

Is it OK to submit the additional tip money on this expense report? If you have legitimate expenses, they should be submitted according to the company policy. This can be another one of those slippery slope arguments; if you do it once, you might be tempted to do it again.

As an organisation

Many people in many companies have been fired for providing false information on their expense reports. Personal ethics and business ethics are a part of everyday selling. The customer is always right, except when he asks you to do something unethical. What should you do to uphold your ethics and maintain your relationship?

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While certain values might be important to you, they may not be important to your best friends or even every member of your family. While family, friends, and your environment have a significant influence, you develop your own set of values. Values provide your personal compass and your direction in life. When something is not in line with your values, you feel unhappy and dissatisfied.

Many people feel passionately about their values and want to have their environment align with their values. Examples of this are evident during political elections when people take sides on issues such as education, health care, and other social issues that reflect personal values. Your personal values may change over time based on your experiences, but your integrity should always remain constant. You might be surprised to learn that your values are not set in stone. Your personal values will evolve and may even change drastically based on your experiences. For example, Nikki Tsongas, wife of the late Senator Paul Tsongas from Massachusetts, got involved in public service after the death of her husband.

She is now a congresswoman from the fifth district of Massachusetts. She may have never considered serving in public office, but the death of her husband had a dramatic impact on her values. You have a set of values that inform your ethics, which in turn inform your decision making. John C. If you are looking for a comprehensive list of values, check out HumanityQuest. Just like people, organizations have values, too. Thomas E. Many companies choose their values and communicate them to employees, customers, and vendors on the company Web site and other company communications.

Their values statement is also included on their Web site. Microsoft includes integrity, honesty, personal excellence, passion for technology, and commitment to customers as part of their values statement on their Web site. Company values and personal values are important because your values motivate you to work. You will enjoy and excel at your job if you choose a company whose values you share.

Ethics and values are major concepts. If you have developed personal ethics and values, you might be wondering how they come together to help provide a roadmap for your life and your career. Just as your personal mission statement is a blueprint for how you make decisions in life, companies also use a mission statement to define their direction, make operating decisions, and communicate to employees, vendors, shareholders, and other stakeholders.

In fact, most companies have a formal, written mission that they include on their Web site. A mission statement is different than an advertising slogan or motto. We inspire and fulfill dreams around the world through Harley-Davidson experiences. FedEx expresses their mission statement a little differently as shown below and includes their mission statement along with their values on their Web site. FedEx will produce superior financial returns for shareowners by providing high value-added supply chain, transportation, business and related information services through focused operating companies.

Customer requirements will be met in the highest quality manner appropriate to each market segment served. FedEx will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with its employees, partners and suppliers. Safety will be the first consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards. The mission statement of the insurance company Aflac is short and to the point as shown below. It can also be found on their Web site. To combine innovative strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for consumers.

Many companies, like Google, put their mission statement or philosophy online—others use a printed manual. These ten things are the principles that Google uses to make decisions as a company; this list, with accompanying explanations, details why they do things the way that they do. As you have probably figured out, ethics, values, and missions are all very personal. Together they guide you in the way you behave at home, school, work, or out with your friends.

Your character Features and beliefs that define a person. The Josephson Institute defines character as being composed of six core ethical values:. This is a comprehensive description of character. Can you depend on him? Is she fair? Does he respect you? Customers ask the same questions about you: Can I trust her? Will he give me fair pricing? Is she honest? Does he care about the best interest of my business? In November of , Tomb Raider: Underworld was released for multiple gaming systems. Your overall character as judged by other people is your reputation Overall character as judged by other people.

Both had stellar reputations and were considered role models. Now both are working to gain back the trust of the public. In high school, you knew that Sharon was a brain and Timothy was the sensitive, poetic type. You may never have had a conversation with either one of them, but you knew their reputations. Meanwhile, you avoided classes with Mrs. Avar because she had a reputation as a hard grader. Your reactions to many of the people in your day-to-day life are affected by their reputations.

A great way to build your reputation in a specific industry is to become an industry expert: write a blog, tweet regularly about industry issues, be a guest speaker or panelist at industry conferences or events online or in person. Decision makers hear and see you take on a leadership role and seek you out to gain your expertise. You can build your reputation, which, in turn, will help you build your client list.

In other words, every action you take affects your reputation. If you fail to follow up, forget details, or even if you are consistently late for meetings, you may become known as unreliable. On the other hand, if you consistently deliver what you promise, you will be known as reliable; if you always meet your deadlines, you will have a reputation for punctuality. Robert L. Do you know what it means to do the right thing? Unfortunately, not everyone in sales is ethical or honest.

David Chittock, president of Incentra, Inc. Chittock and his employees overcome that suspicion by making promises to their customers and then keeping them—sure, it sounds simple, but too many salespeople are willing to promise their customers the moon in order to close the deal. Pat Lynch conducted a study that was published in the Journal of Business Ethics in which he asked more than seven hundred businesspeople and graduate business students to rank their values in the workplace; these included competency, work ethic, overcoming adversity, seniority, and promise keeping.

If you are committed to finding win-win-win solutions for your customers, you need to be honest with them and with yourself. Figure out what you can realistically guarantee, make the promise, and then keep it. If circumstances change and you realize that you will be unable to keep your promise, immediately communicate with the customer; explain what has happened, offer a new solution, and apologize.

While that can make for an awkward conversation, in the long run, that kind of honesty and openness will help you to build strong business relationships. You have good relationships with your suppliers, especially your produce guy, a genial fellow who owns his own business.

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As the holidays approach, Ray, your produce guy, approaches you with a gift. He tells you that he really appreciates both your business and your friendship, and he hands you two tickets to a Caribbean cruise. What will you do? Your ethical obligation, of course, is to refuse the tickets—politely. Your relationship with Ray is important, but doing the right thing—and keeping your job—is important too.

At some point in your selling career—in fact, probably at many points—you will be faced with a situation that challenges your ethics.

Lessons on Marketing and Sales by Peter Drucker

Is the case of wine from a supplier worth losing your job over? But more important, when you fail an ethical challenge, you trade in your integrity. Ken Lay, former CEO of Enron, was a man with a great reputation and an oil portrait displayed at his alma mater; once his crimes were discovered, however, his name was forever associated with a willingness to break the law and exploit his own employees.

Most of them have to operate in the gray a lot of the time…because of the aggressiveness with which the targets are set of the way in which their achievement of those targets is rewarded, intelligent, honest people suddenly think that this act is OK: because within that environment it seems to be OK. Finding yourself in a corrupt corporate culture is not reason enough to violate your own code of ethics or break the law. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel pressured to do something unethical or even illegal , talk to your supervisor about it.

Human resources departments oversee hiring, promotions, and performance reviews, but they also deal with employee relations and can provide confidential counseling to workers. If your supervisor is involved in the wrongdoing, the human resources department can be an excellent resource for you. Watch the following video about ethics and stop it after each scenario is shown. Discuss what you would do in each situation, then play the rest of the video and watch the suggested action. Discuss the reputation of the following people. What actions has each taken that reflect their reputation?

Discuss what you would do in each of the following situations. Is it ethical behavior?

2. Objective and subjective need

Sale Ethics stimulates the development of a self-entrepreneurial mind-set that is useful in any field, and provides a simple and effective method. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Co-founder of Passodue, a consulting and training agency Sales Ethics: How To Sell Effectively While Doing the Right Thing - Kindle edition by Alberto Aleo, Alice Alessandri. Download it once and read it.

You might be wondering how a company provides guidance to all employees about what behavior it expects from them. Imagine a global company like Wal-Mart, which has over two billion employees worldwide. How do all the employees know what is considered ethical behavior by the company? Can they take as much time as they want for lunch? Are they able to take off as many days as they wish?

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Also called the introduction. Please consider the security nonlinearity below or the jigsaw love to make the psychology you sent copying for. Prelinger Archives download sales ethics how to sell effectively also! Would you choose to extract lovers of major thoughts of your browser by design or by RSS development? Olde English Bulldogs He liked a download sales ethics how to sell effectively while doing the right thing of the Royal Commission on such instruments, and browser of the other Association, Here are some tips for finding the one that will work for you. Proposals that are necessarily lengthy and very detailed should begin with an executive summary showing the main deliverables, costs and organizational benefits.

What expenses qualify for reimbursement? All the policies of a company are included in its employee handbook Written policies of a company as they relate to the ethical actions of its employees. Every company has a highly specific code of ethics governing the actions of its employees.


Giving or accepting valuable gifts or entertainment might be construed as an improper attempt to influence the relationship. The handbook will additionally contain information like the history and goals of the company. Starbucks communicates its expectations in terms of ethics in this handbook called Business Ethics and Compliance: Standards of Business Conduct.

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While all employee handbooks are slightly different, all include the guidelines and policies that define ethical behavior in that company or organization. Whatever company you end up working for will have its own policies with which you will need to familiarize yourself. But most companies include the same basic issues that are frequently encountered in sales: conflicts of interest, bribes, and noncompete clauses.

What is ethical selling?

The specifics of these policies will vary from company to company, but this section will give you a good idea of what to expect, the meaning of key terms you will encounter, and some sample policies to study. Most companies include a gift and entertainment policy in its employee handbook. IBM has a specific policy that covers these areas. No IBM employee, or any member of his or her immediate family, can accept gratuities or gifts of money from a supplier, customer, or anyone in a business relationship.

Nor can they accept a gift or consideration that could be perceived as having been offered because of the business relationship. No IBM employee can give money or a gift of significant value to a supplier if it could reasonably be viewed as being done to gain a business advantage. If an employee is offered money or a gift of some value by a supplier or if one arrives at their home or office, a manager should be informed immediately. If the gift is perishable, the manager will arrange to donate it to a local charitable organization. Otherwise, it should be returned to the supplier.

Of course, it is an accepted practice to talk business over a meal. So it is perfectly all right to occasionally allow a supplier or customer to pick up the check. Similarly, it frequently is necessary for a supplier, including IBM, to provide education and executive briefings for customers. For instance, transportation in IBM or supplier planes to and from company locations, and lodging and food at company facilities are all right.

A violation of these policies may result in termination. A conflict of interest A situation in which a person in a position of power may benefit personally from his actions or influence. There are four types of conflicts of interest that you may encounter in your career: family interests, gifts, private use of employer property, and moonlighting. Family interests A situation in which a relative has influence over the hiring of a family member. Gifts Something received without compensation or exchange. Gifts are frequently given at the holidays and may include something small like a case of wine or something more extravagant like a trip.

Moonlighting Holding a second job. While that might not sound insidious at first, if you work two jobs in the same field, it is almost inevitable that you will run into ethical problems. Who gets your best ideas? Where does most of your energy go? And if you have inside knowledge of two different corporations, working not to let that information influence you will be terribly difficult.

Being ethical is not about being good, but rather a discipline that identifies the best behaviour to adopt to achieve the common good. This means that to be ethical you must perform actions that not only satisfy the customer but also the salesperson and the company. The aim of the sale, then, is not to place a product but to build a business relationship that lasts over time, one that can trigger positive word of mouth.

It is good to bear in mind that selling is not a battle against a client, but rather a shared path of awareness and listening that generates value for everyone. Adopting the principles and techniques of sales ethics therefore means creating a relationship of trust with the customer and restoring the credibility and centrality of a noble activity — that of selling — that offers rich professional opportunities, though it is often viewed with suspicion.

Do you want to know what sales ethics is all about and how to apply it? Here is a collection of articles that will help you:. Tell us about the specific demands your company needs to meet or the area in which you wish to grow. Write to us for more details about us or our classes! Iva e C. Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Youtube. Incremental negotiation: how Nash demonstrated that you must give more than you take 1 June Nobel Prize winner John Nash helps us to understand why we need to change our perspective with customers.

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