Integrity Selling

Integrity Selling.

By Chris Lott | Sales | 11245 Views | 12 Comments    

So… You’re working your behind off and doing all the “right things” to only have one of your more unsavory teammates annihilate your sales numbers and become the new board leader. To make matters worse they’re notorious for saying/doing anything to make a sale and all that implies. Where’s the “what goes around, comes around”? Where’s the integrity selling?


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I wish I could tell you that integrity always wins the day. Unfortunately there are many “successful” performers that have no integrity. They feel success using a Machiavellian strategy or “the end justifies the means” as credible. Others, like me, are not subscribers to this philosophy and our perception of success is a success that we can live with and be proud to represent.

Sales people without integrity typically don’t last long. As a sales manager I have cleaned up my fair share of deals with “hair on them”. As a sales person I was always frustrated with the “winner” attention they received while still employed. My take overall, however, is that employers want professionals that can offer integrity selling.

“Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes. – Wikipedia”

What is integrity selling?

Integrity selling, for me, is a conviction I subscribed to years ago. I could never soundly sleep when my actions, values, methods, etc., were less than. I am uncomfortable when my actions are not up to the standards I have set for myself. Here is what I believe defines integrity selling.

1.) It’s having solid convictions.
Be prepared ahead of time. Integrity comes from knowing what you would do in a situation. There’s no deliberating about it. You already know the path you’ll follow. What’s nice about this is once people know what your “standards” are the less they’ll challenge them.

2.) It’s thinking of customer needs – not yours.
It is always tempting, especially if you’re a gifted persuader, to add items to the sale that have no real value to the customer. Long term relationships will suffer. Think long term… think loyal customer base.

3.) It’s being competent.
You can’t have integrity if you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s really that simple. You don’t need to know how the engineer designed something necessarily… but you do need to know enough to make sure your proposal is a good fit for your customer.

4.) It’s a strong work ethic.
If you make a promise fulfill it, whatever that takes. A strong work ethic is central to integrity selling. Expectations offered and perceived should be fulfilled. Consistency of actions is crucial.

5.) It’s clear and focused goals.
All of the above are not possible if there is not an end-game so to speak. You need to know your purpose, your direction, to have sales integrity. Changing direction in the sales process is simply not conducive to integrity selling. Be a consultant with purpose and direction.

While some have no desire to have integrity others like you and I know that it is imperative for long term success and relationships. My recommendation is to always sell with integrity. You’ll definitely sleep better.

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Chris Lott has this crazy creative side that motivates him to design websites and write articles. He's a disruptive technologist and is passionate about sales, family, and anything related to technology. See what others are saying about his work!.


12 thoughts on “Integrity Selling.

  1. Chris, thank you for your exceptional post. The comments were also most insightful, driving this valuable key of success “home”.

    In today’s world, integrity is more important than ever, due to continuous company lay offs, downsizing and running “lean”. The average employee today is working harder, with less resources.

    For us, this economic landscape has ushered in a time for tremendous opportunity and growth for the sales professional and his company.

    By developing a close “partnership” with our clients we are sending a clear message to them. This is done by taking immediate accountability for the account whether it is placing an order or a problem occurs, the client feels comfortable that their salesman will take care of it. A sales person who avoids the client’s calls and texts will soon be an ex-vendor. Those that embrace integrity don’t blame anyone – definitely not the client or his staff or our factory, freight forwarder, logistics, and so on.

    In addition, at times the issue may be a minor one from our prospective. To the client, it’s all that matters at the time. Bottom line is that whatever the issue is, the sales pro treats each customer as if they are their only client.

    We will be thanked by our customer by the elimination of competition and trusting us with our product and service recommendations.


  2. When in doubt, never forget the old adage, “Honesty is the best policy”… Using less than a transparent approach with your customers may get you the order, but over time you’ll likely get every sales person’s most feared order, “Get out and stay out!!!”… We are in the relationship business and as such developing trust should be the major objective entering into any selling situation. Once established this valuable “commodity” can often times off-set competition’s claims of lower price, faster delivery etc. People buy from people they trust….

  3. Nice article. I agree with what you said.

    Have you considered that the problems you describe could be the results of having a competitive mindset rather than a creative mindset?

    It seems that most sales organizations and sales people focus on “being better” than the other company or the other sales people. They would find far more lasting success if they focused on creating the best solution for each customer.

    Competitive sales tactics (or at least the abuse of them) are what have given the sales profession such a bad name in the minds of too many people. In my opinion, we should strive to improve our personal best as we strive to become known as the sales person who creates the best client solutions.

  4. Great article Chris and very true. I especially agree with the fact that do anything to win sales people generally don’t last long. I have just recently been able to define my career long approach to sales as my acting as the agent that allows my company and the customer to “play nice” together, and do so in a way thats profitable to both.

    Love it!

  5. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for sharing some of your life experiences. I enjoy reading your articles and appreciate your insight and perspective.


  6. Chris

    Like your stuff – a lot – it is so easy to comprehend and makes oodles of sense. Keep it going.

    I operate in an industry (corporate car fleet and rental management) where price is all too often the defining factor and have suffered at the hands of the ‘quick-buck’ merchants who disappear as quickly as they arrive – once the ‘deal’ is done. In 31 years I have my fair share of success – but sometimes find it difficult to understand the reluctance of a buyer to pick up the phone and admit they made a mistake.

    Some have and we are great friends – but those who don’t are usually seen in the appointments page – taking on a new job.

    Having fallen into the trap that as a great salesman – it must follow that I will be an even better senior manager – wrong. I have held two very senior management – both of which I disliked as they took me away from the one thing I did well – sell. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to regain my selling my selling appetite, in what is now a very different place to the one I knew many years back – I find myself reaching out to the two useful sites (like yours)to bring myself into the modern age – and am enjoying it.

    Yes, the ‘young guns’ are there to be competed with but I am finding that the opportunities I am working on/with – do like the presence of experience when mixed with enthusiasm – long may it continue.

    Best regards,



    • Tony… Thank you for your insightful comment. You have hit on so many great points. My guess is you made a fantastic senior manager regardless of where your heart is. Lottspace articles are really mainly about my experiences with the "different [sales] place" we all find ourselves in these days. I talk a little about what it means to be a senior sales professional in the "Top 6 Myths in Hiring a Senior Sales Professional" article. There are so many theories about sales success. Most are just that. Thanks for the kind words and good luck in your new endeavors.

  7. Chris:

    Truer words were never spoken. In my experience spanning almost 40 years I have discovered that not burning bridges in terms of unethical behavior has ALWAYS reaped big dividends although not usually right at the moment.

    When I have been beat out by a competitor using less than ethical tactics I always let my prospect know that I have some concerns about the eventual success of the decision they have just made and ask their permission to make periodic follow-up visits. Yes is the usual answer.

    I am not amazed any longer but consistently gratified at how the ball usually ends up in my court within some period of time. I almost always make a client out of a prospect who buys "pie in the sky" from someone else. A reputation developed over time for honesty ALWAYS leaves even those who are not yet your customers somewhat in your debt. At the very least they have learned something that benefits them from you and you will benefit by sticking around. You have earned the right to ask for that business. You have earned the right to ask for referrals. They believe you truely have the best interests of their business at heart.

    There will always be those who will never buy "value" and always try to beat you down to the cheapest price where nobody benefits. Those guys will always get what they deserve in the end. I have the advantage of having been around long enough to see these scenarios wind down to their eventual pile of ashes. Call it "Karma" or whatever. I just see it as the fulfillment of the scriptural mandate to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

    Nice post. It helps folks who are new at this to understand principles like this.

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