There is a book titled “Integrity Selling” that was written back in the early ’90s. I have a marked up copy at home. There are many great points the book makes but to me, the most important ones are the following:
(1) Find some common ground with your client, (2) don’t be phony, and (3) tell the truth without spin.
Number one deals with finding some common ground with your client. This means before you launch into your sales pitch, find out a little about the client. If you are meeting with him/her in their office, ask about the family pictures on their desk or the bike sitting in the corner, etc. This is so important to the success of the meeting. Start with a question like “How did you get into that type of business?” Most of the time the person will sit back and take a few moments to tell you about themselves. These are the most important things said in the entire meeting.
People don’t want to be sold to; people want to choose to do business with people that they like and trust. With very few exceptions, I have almost always met with people before they bought a hotel from me or sold a hotel through me.
Number two is easy to understand. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Even a child can see through it when someone is not being truthful. I find that if you don’t know the answer to a question, it is ok to say you don’t know the answer. What you don’t want to do is make it up.
Again, people do business with people they like and trust.
Lastly, number three deals with “spin.” You have seen and heard people try to answer a question to where it sounds better than the truth. Trust me, when you have to tell a client that you haven’t done what you said you would do, it only takes a couple of those conversations to get a PhD on what you won’t do again.
So selling, like everything else, takes integrity to do it right and do it long term. Make a commitment to integrity selling because you will not have to look over your shoulder or try to remember what you said. The truth is very easy to remember and very easy to keep up with. Lies, on the other hand, are not and will eventually catch up with you.
You have heard me say this and it’s so true: everyone is a sales person, whether you are in actual sales or you are a school teacher, pastor, doctor, receptionist, etc. You are selling yourself wherever you go in your work because people are choosing to buy what you are selling (yourself) in every job. Many times, the most intense sales jobs are not sales jobs at all. Think of a doctor, pastor or a teacher. They have to sell every time they meet someone because they are selling themselves in their profession and trying to gain the trust of the person they are talking to.
So, live life with integrity in all you do because the truth is much easier to remember. KT