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Truth in Selling By Dave Toon,CPP

by Crystal Hubert | Jun 08, 2017

Having been in Sales and Sales Management for over 20 years I’ve seen and heard a great deal about “motivating” your team and using selling “techniques”. However, there has been little talk about truth in selling. The number one, most important trait for any sales person to have is integrity, honesty, TRUTH. Someone once said that they have to tell the truth because they are not smart enough to remember the lies. This is certainly funny. However, it strikes at one of the reasons that truthfulness is
always a better way to go.

Truth in selling really means three things:

• Be true to yourself
• Be true to your customers
• Be true to your coworkers and your company

Be true to yourself. You must believe in the product or service that you are selling. If you do not believe that your product or service will do what you are telling people it will do, you will not be a successful sales person. If this is the case find something else to sell. If you do not believe, you will not only be ineffectual as a sales person, you will also be miserable. Life is too short to be miserable and if you are truly a hardworking and honest person you can easily be successful selling something you do believe in.

Be true to your customers. Telling the truth is not always the path of least resistance. Many sales people tell the customer what they want to hear. There could be no worse strategy when you are trying to establish a long-term relationship with a customer. Often the customer themselves do not want to hear the truth. However, in a difficult situation it is always best to level with the customer and take the heat. Many sales people attempt to place blame on other people outside their company. “The supplier messed up the order” etc. However, you represent that supplier and as far as the customer is concerned
you are not separate from the supplier. You might as well step up and say that a mistake was made and that you are accepting responsibility for the mistake. You should then outline how you are correcting the error. Your customer will have a great deal more respect for you, and your company, if you use this approach.

Don’t tell a customer that your product or service will do something that it will not. Do not make a delivery commitment to your customer that is unrealistic or downright impossible. These types of statements may get you the first sale but they will backfire and destroy any chance at a long-term relationship. Even if your customer continues to buy, your relationship will always be tenuous because your customer will never know if you are lying or telling the truth. This, of course will make it easier for your competition to inevitably drive in the wedge.

Be true to your coworkers and your company. When working with other team members remember to give them full and complete HONEST information. It does not do anyone any good to tell them that the customer said or wants something when they did not. You will get caught in the lie, one of these times, and that is all it takes. Your coworkers will never believe you again when you make a request or ask for a performance deadline.

Put in the required hours to be successful. If you think that by being a sales person you can skate by on 25 or 30 hours a week you are wrong. If you try to do this you are not being fair to your employer, nor are you being fair to yourself. You will NOT be successful unless you work hard at being successful.

Don’t cheat on your expense report. You will feel much better about yourself if you don’t. I know what you are thinking “but everyone else does”. Actually, not everyone else does and secondly that’s not a good reason to do anything. Be your own person and do the right thing. Believe me, it feels good.

Will being truthful, by itself, make you a successful sales person? Of course not. However, it will give you a solid foundation on which to build. Besides honesty, there are two other essential ingredients that go into the making of a SUPER sales person.

Sales Managers the world over have always tried to “motivate” their sales people and to teach them sales “techniques” to help improve sales. Well let’s be honest, these things can NOT replace the simple basics that make successful sales people successful. The first, as already mentioned, is honesty. Second, it is working hard and thirdly, working smart. As a Sales Manager I will take a smart, hardworking, honest sales person over the alleged “motivated closer” anytime. When confronted with
the task of starting or turning around a sales group I always go back to blocking and tackling. Make sure that your team is trained in time management skills, that they are organized, and that they are putting in the required hours to be successful.

Unfortunately, sales people have been unfairly stereotyped as slackers. The super successful sales people I have worked with and managed over the years have been anything but slackers. These are the people who will do what ever it takes to meet a deadline. They will work into the wee hours assembling proposals for an early morning presentation. They will answer e-mails at night, after the kids have gone to bed, so they don’t cut into customer contact time during business hours.

In addition to working hard you can increase your success exponentially by working smart. If you are charged with digging a hole and you work hard with a hand shovel you will not do nearly as well as if you use a backhoe. Therefore, working hard in itself is not the key to sales success. Part of working smart is following a set sales process that will get you in front of the person who makes the decision. A process that will keep you away from those that will waste your time. Of course, many books have
been written on how to work smart and a detailed analysis, here, is not possible. Suffice it to say that you MUST work smart as well as hard to be a successful sales person.

We now have the basic ingredients of the truly successful sales person.
• honesty 
• hard working
• working smart