This question came up over lunch after speaking at a conference on negotiating. 

Many of the people in the audience were uncomfortable with the whole sales process and, in particular, having to negotiate.

The fears expressed by several over lunch were clearly real to them.

They were confused as how negotiating over anything could be anything but deceitful.  The rationale they used was if something was priced correctly to begin with, there would be no reason to negotiate.

My response was their logic seemed rational if they were only talking about simple one-dimensional things. However, the vast majority of what we buy is anything but that.

I explained how the negotiating process is about allowing the customer to understand better the full value of what they’re receiving, while it provides the salesperson with the opportunity to ensure they’re not providing them with things the customer won’t want.

To me negotiating under these terms is more than ethical — it’s the smart thing to do in those situations where you do have to negotiate.

Negotiating only becomes deceitful when expectations and outcomes are being stated that are clearly not possible.  This applies to both sides.  A salesperson who says “x” will occur when it is blatantly obvious it won’t happen is clearly deceitful.

In my explanation to these people, I went onto share how the same applies to the selling process.  Stating false expectations at this point bears the same consequence — deceit.

It comes down to one basic tenant that must be the foundation of selling and negotiating (and really for everything), and that is integrity.

When the two parties both demonstrate integrity, there is zero chance of any phase of the selling or negotiating process being anything but ethical.

Integrity = Ethical Negotiating.

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Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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