What impression do your salespeople make on customers? That you are running a reputable business or that your company is a little shady? If your sales team is willing to say whatever it takes to land a sale, it could hurt your company’s good name. So do not overlook sales when building an ethical business culture.
A strong ethical ‘tone at the top’ is critical to any company’s reputation. If you clearly demonstrate your own commitment to honesty and integrity, through both words and behavior, your sales team will get the message and customers will, too.
You also need to anticipate the challenges your salespeople may face as they attempt to meet sales quotas. Some may be tempted to sell more than your company can deliver or recommend a product they know is not the best solution for a customer’s problem. Those strategies may land the account, but they do nothing to build the trust and credibility your business needs to keep accounts.
Build lasting relationships
Require salespeople to be clear about what every sale includes and what it does not so there is no misunderstanding with customers. Reiterate that their job is not simply to make sales, but to build lasting customer relationships. You may want to reinforce that message by rewarding sales staff for customer satisfaction and repeat business, in addition to meeting sales revenue quotas.
When necessary, salespeople need to be prepared to tell customers that one (or even all) of your products will not meet their needs. If a customer asks about a feature your product does not have, your sales reps should not try to imply that it does. Instead, they should work with the customer to determine whether the desired feature is really necessary and emphasize your product’s other features and benefits. Ultimately, however, they must be honest about limitations.
This does not mean that your sales force needs to steer customers to the competitor. However, they should not disparage the competition, either.
You can help ensure your sales department is operating ethically by emphasizing that professional integrity is a big part of your definition of success. Contact us for more tips on ethics and fraud prevention.