I remember reading a study done by Harvard a while back (that I can’t find any more for some reason) on the characteristics of the top 1% of sales professionals in the US. There was one that stuck out to me since it’s usually not associated with sales professionals but it is something I strongly believe – Impeccable Honesty. They found the best sales professionals were impeccably honest with everything they did at every level. They were honest with their clients, gatekeepers, managers, forecast, everything. Generally, when people think about salespeople, honesty is usually not the first thing that pops into their mind which is a shame and we need to do something about it; we need to change that perception.
We’ve all heard “buyers are liars” right? I don’t necessarily agree with that but even if they are, fine, let them be. We’ve also heard “two wrongs don’t make a right” which is one I do agree with. I wonder who lied to who first and started us down this path to where we are today. Was it the client who lied or misrepresented the situation to the Sales rep or vice versa? Unfortunately, I would tend lean towards the Sales rep being the one since people do weird things when commissions are on the line.
Here are a few things that I consider breaking the “Impeccable Honesty” rule, even if they do help or get results:
- Sending someone an e-mail for the first time and putting “RE:” in the subject line to pretend like you’re responding to one of their e-mails
- Being late to a meeting and saying you were stuck in traffic
- Leaving those 20%ers in your pipeline and continuing to push them out every month to make your forecast look better than it actually is
- Calling a list of random ‘dead’ phone numbers just to hit your 50 dials a day
- Asking for 15 minutes of someone’s time when you know it will take more
- Telling a C level that you got their cell phone number from the receptionist when you didn’t.
If you’re doing any of these please stop (except maybe the local dial numbers ). Help improve this profession and its perception. Sales is the best profession in the world when done right, it’s the worst when done wrong. Do it right.
Make It Happen!
P.S. I’d love to hear some of the ways you’ve seen “impeccable honesty” broken in the past in the comments below.