The Integrity of a Salesperson


When you work a sales position, you should always remember that you're working with human beings and their livelihoods and lives. Sometimes, the "products and services" that you sell them can affect their lives so much that they can live or die based upon what you tell them. Is it ethical to lie and then deny someone an inexpensive solution just to try to sell them a more expensive one? Is it moral to let them walk out the door with no solution even though you know they need immediate help?

I'm mostly talking about people who sell things in the health and dental fields, but this could apply to the automotive industry, cell phone industry, and other industries, as well. Salespersons should never lose their integrity just to try to make a sale. They should never let someone walk out the door with a life-threatening illness that could be resolved by a $4 prescription or an automotive problem that could ultimately cause an accident and hurt them and other innocent drivers. You get the point.

It's great to make a sale in your industry if you get the opportunity. It's wonderful if you can convince someone to buy XYZ product or service, and that XYZ product or service somehow benefits them. However, a salesperson should not be heartless if the customer declines XYZ product due to financial limits, product knowledge, desire to take another action plan, etc. At the end of the day, the salesperson or sales manager should respect the customer's decision and give that person what he or she wants unless it's dangerous. Even when that's the case, the customer still has a right to choose that action plan. The salesperson cannot take away that person's right to choose because it's the customer's money.  He can instead make the person sign a disclaimer or waiver to relieve himself of the responsibility and still respect the client's wishes.

I'm specifically talking about a recent issue I had with one of those chain dentistry places, but as I said, it applies to all sales. The business wanted to sell me a costly solution when I just wanted a quick inexpensive solution that I knew wasn't permanent. I just wanted to be healthy and have a bit more time to save money for the more expensive (but most likely necessary) solution. I feel that the practitioner was wrong because he stripped me of my right to choose the other option. He could have charged me for the visit (I was there on a promotion), and I would have paid him for writing the (JUST AN antibiotic to kill the infection) prescription, but I never got that option at all. I left the facility ill instead, and dental infections are tricky because they can get into the bloodstream and literally cause death. To me, this was a case of unethical sales tactics.

A caring provider would not want someone to leave without getting help even if it didn't make the facility a whole lot of money that day. Sometimes, you can gain long-term customers and clients just by being honest and helpful to them when they need assistance.

Anyway, you get the point. Sales positions are tricky. Yes, you have to make sales, but you shouldn't ever lie or cheat people to do so. You do have to look out for the patient, customer, or client, but at the same time, you can't strip that person of his or her rights. A sales professional has to have a balance of compassion and empathy as well as the desire to earn money for himself/herself and the company. If the scale tips too much toward the dollar side, the saleperson can lose his or her soul. Just saying. 

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