Unfortunately, the sales and marketing sides of some businesses don’t always receive praise. Sales ethics exist to help companies learn how to market and sell their services in a way that is customer-forward.
If you’re a first-time business owner, you might already be selling ethically, but it’s worth understanding how sales ethics could impact your business in the short and long-run.
In fact, a solid set of ethical principles across your sales cycle can improve customer retention, brand loyalty, and achieve better growth.
Let’s take a look at some of the key pieces of information in understanding how to build a culture of ethical sales into your online business.
What Are Sales Ethics?
Put simply, sales ethics are the key principles and practices involved in making sure your sales pipeline is trustworthy, accurate, and customer-centric.
In sales, you can never forget that you are engaging daily with people. Similarly, these people are not just prospects to be mined for their money or resources.
Sales ethics proposes that you must respect their purchasing decisions and not push unnecessary advertising or communications with them – if they refuse a sale.
If you’re putting in the work to create a culture of ethical salesmanship, you’ll see the rewards. Your customers and employees will be happier, and your business costs will diminish.
By actively advocating for ethics in sales, you’re making a clear division between your company, and those who don’t.
How Do I Act Ethically While Selling?
If you’re engaging a prospect and feel like you’re getting close to the sale, congratulations! At this stage, you might be given a list of questions to finalize.
While it might be tempting to offer the potential client information that answers all of their questions, make sure that you are providing holistic responses. You don’t want to just tell the potential sale what they want to hear, in order to close.
You need to think of the long-term effects that this simple action might have later on.
Returning to our example, imagine you’ve provided a list of answers that is somewhat fabricated, but satisfies the customer.
Can you picture how they might react once they realize the product or service they have just purchased is not in agreement with your list? Not only will you feel the heat, but the company will take a loss as well in trying to re-negotiate or salvage the deal.
Even worse, this unsatisfied customer might go on to speak poorly about your products or services to their immediate network, resulting in massive losses of potential business for you and your team.
When selling, make sure that you are acting honestly, being communicative, and customer-centric, and the results will far outweigh a potential loss later on.
Why Are Ethics Important in Sales?
With sales ethics, there’s more to it than just your bottom-line. Ethical behavior at every step of the sales cycle can improve various facets of your business, including:
- Faster, more efficient lead qualification
- Ease-of-movement of leads through your pipeline
- Improved forecasting for sales and revenue
When you sell ethically, you’re selling to people who are most-qualified to buy. This process significantly slows down sales friction, resulting in more purchases from your potential customers.
As your purchasing leads feel their needs were met due to your ethical behavior, you will see your customers attitudes shift as they move through your pipeline. As their attitudes shift, you’ll see higher ROI in your marketing efforts from positive brand-perception in the marketplace.
How Can My Business Benefit from Ethical Sales Practices?
In addition to benefits for your company, your public-facing brand can gain a multitude of benefits from ethical sales practices as well. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Brand Commitment: Customers develop attachments to ethical brands, and are willing to pay more, compared to your competition
Service Quality: If a company integrates ethical practices, customers believe the quality and products are superior to their competition
Customer Satisfaction: Understanding employees empathize with customer needs, and use this knowledge to cement positive associations with customers and drive up their customer satisfaction
Customer Loyalty: As mentioned, ethical brands see higher customer loyalty and retention, as well as repeat purchases.
Positive Press: Ethical practices generate positive conversations.
It’s never too late to integrate ethical sales practices into your organization! Let’s take a look at some concrete ways to integrate ethicality into your organization.
How Can I Lead by Example?
In order to lead by example, you must set standards and practices in place for your ethical sales efforts. Your entire company must know and be held accountable according to these principles!
If you’re in a management position, make sure that your employees know that you are following these practices as well. Additionally, ensure that these ethics are distributed and made visible across all facets of inter-company communication.
Some examples of leading by example with sales ethics include:
Transparency in sharing company wins, losses, and possible issues on the horizon.
Use data honestly. If you’re leading a training session or demonstrating your pipeline, your employees must understand the real picture of the company’s health.
Don’t stretch the truth or exaggerate. You’ll maintain morale by staying honest.
Offer support to your employees. When times get hard, the last thing your team needs to hear is that you’ve had a hard quarter, but it’s up to you to demonstrate that even when things get tough, you’re there to help.
Much like your customers, when communicating your policies of sales ethics, showing is always much better than telling. This means serving as a role model across all company-wide communications.
How Can I Be More Accountable?
As you’re moving through your sales cycle, chances are someone will make a mistake. If the problem occurs, and you know the fault is yours, take responsibility.
Even in a situation where you could flip the blame to save your reputation, offering responsibility for your actions demonstrates that you are truly dedicated to your customers.
If you’re facing a customer-related issue, make sure to take care of it with any capacity you have.
If your paying customer finds out that the responsibility was yours, and not theirs, but you blamed them, you’ll be paying far more than just a lost customer. You could lose out on many sales!
Take full responsibility, and don’t put the blame on technology or your colleagues.
How Can I Ethically Unify My Sales and Marketing Teams ?
Ethical selling doesn’t start as soon as your sales team gets a hold of a prospect. Your marketing team needs to have an ethical approach as well!
Getting your sales and marketing teams aligned on the benefits and actual functions your product or services provide is the first step. Doing so ensures that you’re able to connect your marketing and sales teams from Day One.
Make sure that your marketing teams are synced with your sales teams. If it helps, hold meetings where the two powerhouses can come together and discuss approaches for sharing more about their strategies.
These meetings can also provide great opportunities to share consumer and customer insights about the products, in order to convey certain pain points and customer information that certain teams may not already have.
Take these tips into consideration on your next sales call, and you’ll find that your potential customers will be more receptive to your attitude, processes, and sales process. For everything else, count on Jumpseller to help you get your site up and get started selling!