The hard truth about Honesty in Sales is that the days of the shifty sales guy are far from over but for me I just can’t bring myself to putting “getting the sale” over “doing right by my customers”. From the initial sales call that is more often then not completely or mostly “Cold” I put myself out there and present the facts of what I do and who I am.
In a world that is moving at the speed of the latest Tweet having a message and a brand that stands for something is key and I firmly believe that I can attribute a good chunk of my success in focusing letting my personal and professional integrity stand on its own merits and that is what makes me as a Tech Sales Guy stand out.
Is there a top secret formula for cutting through the bull and presenting an honest and up front persona to customers…not really a top secret formula…just a single mantra “DON’T LIE…EVER!”
This can’t just be something that you turn on and off like a light switch though either. You have to embrace the concept of honesty in sales with not just your customers but with your co-workers, suppliers and bosses too!
The person that I represent in these posts, and through out my “Social Experiment” is me…even if the image is an Avatar…what you see is what you get. I am not a cold hearted selling machine, I wear my heart on my sleeve and try always to “say what I mean, and mean what I say!” Am I infallible? Absolutely not but part of being honest is knowing that when a mistake or error occurs…you own up to it…take your lumps and move on!
Lies, Half Truths and Innuendos
We have all had the experience of dealing with the Sales Guy who will use the shifty sales tactics to pull the wool over our eyes and try to use the old lines of “Act Now and I can give you…” or “This is the best deal of the year…” or “Don’t be the only person who doesn’t…” as a Sales Professional myself I find this not only offensive but down right wrong. If there is a sale…let me know but don’t over play the card and help me facilitate my option to buy not your need to sell!
For those who are constantly living their Sales Life spreading their shifty “Let’s Make a Deal” mentality the biggest danger is to keep the ongoing parade of Lies, Half Truths and Innuendos straight. It may work for a while if your sales process is based on transactional sales but in my world…the illustrious “One Call, One Close” has always been something that I have tried to avoid as I want my customers to stay with ME for years not come in, get what they want and move on to the next “deal”.
Never Over Promise and Under Deliver
This is a danger faced by many sales professionals today in a world of tougher and tougher competition and landing the sale is so vital to their survival. Remember that you can not save every account, land every prospect and grow every customer to their maximum spend.
We hear “No” alot as sales professionals and it is really hard for us to tell our customers “No” in return but there are times when a client or prospect wants to hear that from us. Just because the sales department is the life blood of any company does not mean that when Joe Customer asks for delivery tomorrow at 10:00 AM and you can’t deliver on that promise…the relationship may be spoiled permanently.
The passion that a true sales professional has for his or her product is infectious and the feeling of getting a client or prospect buying into that passion and believing in you and your company there is no better feeling but the fact remains…to keep that passion alive…you do need to ensure that you don’t lean in for the kiss too early.
What about Under Promising and Over Delivering?
Just as dangerous as Over Promising, this can be just as dangerous. In a world that is filled with companies claiming to have the best customer service…you may be able to get the win today but can you and can your company sustain the Over Delivery of Service in the long term? Don’t let yourself become Atlas and carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.
I have been guilty in the past of focusing on this goal but found out the hard way that with the 480 minutes that I have available in a day I must be able to spread my time effectively across all the disciplines that I work in. There is also the fact that no sales professional truly acts alone and there is a long line of dependencies that must fall into line just perfectly to ensure that you can always live up to Over Delivery of your promises.
As an example…offering a small discount on a sale today may just get you the client and chaulk one up for the team but is that small discount going to be possible to honor next year or next purchase cycle? Have you set a precedence for continued discounting that not just yourself but your company is going to have to find a solution for later?
So if I can’t Under Promise and I can’t Over Promise….what do I do?
It is pretty simple. Only Promise on what YOU can deliver. If you say that something will happen on a certain date…it is on YOU to ensure that it will happen.
This starts off with the scheduling of your first sales appointment and will continue until the last point of contact you ever have with that client. Stand by your product, believe in the support system of your company and always, always…Sell YOURSELF!
Cheers and have a great week!
Chris J Powell