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Is Integrity a Sales Strategy?

The argument for honesty as a powerful sales tool

If you find your customers sometimes buying from a higher priced source, or buying a product or service you consider to be inferior, it may be that your customer doesn’t trust you. Sales trainer Dave Kahle (davekahle.com) says too many sales professionals — and that includes managers — still buy into the notion that a salesperson’s job is to wring as much money out of each transaction as possible using whatever means are necessary.

That approach may occasionally produce larger sales in the short run, but Kahle questions whether it’s a sustainable long-term sales model.

“I believe there are certainly practices in the business world where morality perfectly coincides with wise business. Integrity is one such practice. It is both good business, as well as good morals,” he says.

Kahle argues that honesty is a powerful sales strategy that is probably more important today than ever before. In today’s frenzied world, time is more precious than money for a lot of people. If your customers cannot believe you, then they must use hours, days or weeks of precious time confirming the representations you have made. If, however, they can believe you, then they don’t feel the need to check for the veracity of every fact or statement.

The question for you as a sales manager is, “Do our customers see us as trustworthy?” You can’t just ask them, because you are unlikely to hear a candid response. Look for signs, Kahle says. If your customers deal with you, even when you offer an identical product at a higher price, then chances are they trust you.

“A reputation for trustworthiness and honesty develops over time as you adhere to a set of ethical standards in small as well as big things,” Kahle says. “It’s not a technique you use, but rather it’s the person you chose to become. And that is good business as well as good morals.”