A lot has been said and written about integrity in sales. People will blog about it (as is the case here today) or use it as a topic for discussion via numerous groups on LinkedIn.
Many will say that integrity and honesty is essential. Others will say that it goes against all reason and that integrity is counter intuitive to the sales process. Meaning, that since sales people are held accountable for numbers in a given time frame, they will do and say anything to get the deal. This includes throwing honesty and integrity out the window.
Have you ever hear the joke that asks; How do you know when a sales rep is lying? His lips are moving.
The role of a sales person is often very difficult and many times one’s integrity is tested on a daily basis. For those that that have short term thinking, it is to get the deal and move on. For those who are concerned about the long term, sales is about relationships and I, like many, believe that integrity is the cornerstone of any relationship.
To me, integrity in sales is a concept of consistency of actions and outcomes. It relates to your general character as a sales professional and it goes to your core values and principles as a person. As such, your reputation as a sales person and that of your company’s is at stake each and every time you interact with a client.
Selling with integrity is about believing in yourself and what you stand for. Its about believing in the integrity of your company, the integrity of the product or service, and about everything and everyone that stands behind it.
As the saying goes; people buy from people they know, like and trust. Without integrity there is no trust.
Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, said it best when he once said; “those who are performers with the highest integrity should be respected and motivated. Those who are non-performers with the highest integrity should be given chances. Great performers with no integrity should be thrown out of the organization.”
Is he right? Does integrity really matter in sales? What are your thoughts?
Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.