Successful sales people are at peace with themselves and with their customers. The peace they feel comes from belief in their products and services and the honest and straightforward approach they have taken with their customers. When you feel right, it is much easier to act right and when you act right, you do right.
The world is full of salespeople who don’t believe in their products and are willing to say whatever it takes to make the sale. They willingly accept money based on hollow promises, knowing in their hearts the product is incapable of doing what it was purchased to do. Others will say and do those things that “hook” the buyer, eliminating other options in order to deliberately lock buyers into their product with total disregard for the implications that will ultimately placate the customer. It almost seems as though they live by the creed, “All is fair, as long as you make the sale.”
Selling is not a short-term proposition. Successful salespeople are always thinking long-term. Short-term relationships are built on lies and deception while lasting sales relationships are anchored firmly on a foundation of honesty and trust. Of course, there are salespeople who have enjoyed phenomenal success through deceptive practices. However, their success is not lasting nor is it satisfying. Many will eventually be discovered and others will leave sales and move on to other careers. In both cases, their success and careers are hollow, void of personal satisfaction, having left a trail of unfulfilled promises and expectations.
If you want to find the true joy and success that can be experienced in a sales career, you must not only be honest with yourself but with your customers as well. There are no degrees of honesty; either you are honest or you aren’t. In the classic tale written by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he wrote a chapter titled, “You Can’t Pray A Lie”. Huck was troubled with his life, the way he was living, and the things he had done. He finally decided to seek peace for his aching soul. Here are Huck’s words as written by Mark Twain:
“It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie — I found that out.”
As salespeople, we represent our employers, our industry, our profession, our friends, our families and ourselves. Just as doctors subscribe to the Hippocratic Oath, swearing to practice medicine ethically, so must salespeople for the sake of all those people whose lives they influence. We must be honest, forthright and ethical in all aspects of selling. We will find internal peace and satisfaction while at the same time, rebuilding the image of the greatest profession in the world.