In any company, salespeople are given sales goals or quotas to reach every month. More often than not, the management no longer checks how these salespeople achieve their target as long as they deliver. Although there are company mission, vision, and core values in place, these are sometimes neglected because of the pressure that comes with the numbers to be reached. As a salesperson for a long time now, I know that a salesperson must have personal ethics and use it at all times in dealing with prospective buyers and existing clients. This must be non-negotiable for any person, even those who are outside sales, because he/she can only adhere to the business ethics in place when he/she has a strong resolve on what’s wrong and what’s right. Here are some values that come when someone has personal ethics and why each is important for a salesperson to have:
- Integrity. Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one’s watching. A salesperson who has integrity will always make sure that he/she will do the right thing, and will not over-promise or take advantage of a prospective buyer’s obliviousness about the product or service for the sake of closing sales even without supervision. This value is vital for a salesperson to have because, without it, one will just do anything and everything, no matter how wrong, to make a sale. Without it, the purpose of a salesperson, which is to serve others and help them address their needs, is defeated.
- Empathy. Empathy means understanding what and how others feel. A salesperson who is empathetic will surely put the need of the buyers first before his/her own. Having empathy will cause him/her to serve the buyers with truthfulness and genuineness, making sure that the latter will be able to make the most out of the product or service they availed, and not leaving them to figure it all out on their own.
- Honesty. Honesty means truthfulness in words and actions. A salesperson who is honest will more likely gain the trust of the people he/she offers products or services to because he/she does not withhold any information from or try to mislead the latter to entice them to buy. A salesperson who is honest will always make sure that there are no details about the products or services that are concealed from the prospective buyers and existing clients. Concealing a fact just to make the product and service more attractive to the buyers will eventually backfire to the salesperson himself or to the company he/she is representing.
- Respect. Respect means giving high regard to a person, may it be oneself or another, and acknowledging the dignity of each one. When a salesperson has self-respect and respect for others, he/she will act according to what is morally right because he/she cannot live with the fact that he obtained or gained something through deceit or other wrongful acts. This is because he/she believes that everyone needs to serve and be served in a manner that promotes their dignity as a person.
- Loyalty. Loyalty means being faithful and committed to one’s goals — mission, vision, and core values. A salesperson who is loyal is faithful to his/her pledge to uphold the mission, vision, and core values of the company he/she represents. This salesperson is also committed to delivering the company’s promise to the people they serve with the highest level of quality possible.
Without these values, which are part of personal ethics, a salesperson is only a liability and not an asset. Why? Because his/her actions that do not adhere to these values will later, if not sooner, cause a big problem to the entire company. A salesperson is a representative, therefore, people will see their actions as authorized or permitted by the company he/she represents. If you own a business or you lead a team of sales professionals, always watch out for this when hiring and developing your people. And if you are a salesperson or an aspiring one, always be reminded of why this profession exists — to serve others first before the self. Always remember that personal ethics is non-negotiable in sales and in life in general for, without it, we are nothing.