questionRecently I was conducting a workshop for salespeople and the subject of integrity came up.

The comments being made by several of the people in the audience were based on the belief  a person could offset a lack of integrity or ethics by simply being so smart the customer could not ignore you.

Their position was sales leadership is all about knowing so much that the customer will look past what they might say are shortcomings and go ahead and deal with the salesperson.

There is no way the views suggested by these people could ever be seen as sales leadership.

Sales leadership is not based on knowing so much about what you sell that you are seen as a subject matter expert.   I’d say just the opposite.   Yes, having a high level of knowledge is important, but all of that is worthless if integrity and ethics are lacking.

Ethics takes a lifetime to shape.

It takes far more time to develop your ethics and integrity than it does to know everything there is to know about what you sell. This is why I am so emphatic about sales managers putting far more importance on hiring people with strong ethics and integrity than product or industry knowledge.

Product or industry knowledge is fine, but a person has to ask how a customer will receive even the most insightful information from a person who is lacking integrity.  It certainly means that the customer is going to challenge everything being said that much more.

How do we define integrity and ethics?

I’ll say the best definition is it’s what is done by the person when nobody is watching.   Ethics and integrity is not something that is turned on and turned off. It is something that is lived 24/7.

Sales leadership is something I value and I hope you do too.  If you want to read more, check out a new eBook on the subject:

Yes! I want the new eBook on Sales Leadership!

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.


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