Very few truths are irrefutable in the business world. We’re constantly reminded how fast things are evolving and changing, but not always for the best. One thing stands out that will never change, your business integrity both as an individual and as a company ultimately defines you.
Without integrity, there is no trust. Albert Einstein said it best; “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important matters.” All business relationships are formed on trust. Is it a coincidence that a common characteristic of top performing sales teams is that they earn their customer’s trust more than their competitor’s? Obviously not. In fact, the bigger the business opportunity the more important role that trust and integrity plays into the final decision.
There are different ways to earn trust with your customers as a sales professional. Honoring your word, setting clear and realistic expectations, asking for concurrence from your customers that you delivered what you promised to deliver to them. Helping your customer overcome adversity through challenging times to a successful outcome. In short, say what you mean and do what you say is an easy way to think of sales integrity.
Sales integrity is one of those things that is binary, either you have it or you don’t. We all know of sales reps that have acquired a reputation for being sleazy or dishonest. They adhere to the “anything to get the deal done” philosophy. They also seem to go through jobs quickly, don’t do a lot of repeat business with their customers and never close the monster deals. Because they are not trustworthy.
Conversely, we’ve all had the pleasure of working with a high integrity sales rep. They tend to get “lucky” and win the largest deals, well at least according to the jealous sales reps that lack integrity. They do a lot of repeat business with the same customer execs, and often get sponsored to different business units within an account and higher level execs due to the business trust that they’ve earned. They frequently stay with the same company for a long time, and even if they move to a different company, many of their customers will continue doing business with them.
So as an individual sales rep or a sales leader, how do you measure the sales integrity quotient for yourself or your team? By asking some smart questions that will clearly tell you your sales integrity quotient. Here is a framework for getting started:
- How much of your business is repeat business with existing customers?
- What % of your customers have you done business with at a previous company?
- How many customers choose to work with you when they move to a different company?
- How frequently are you or your sales team “sponsored” into new business units within an existing account by your champion?
- How frequently are you or your sales team “sponsored” into higher level execs or larger strategic business initiatives within an existing account by your champion?
- What is your pilot conversion success rate?
- What is your conversion rate to enterprise deals from “land and expand” sales opportunities?
- Provide examples of how you or your sales team have earned trust with key customer execs.
- Provide examples of how you or your sales team have helped your customer overcome adversity or significant challenges to a successful outcome.
- Ask your customers what they think of your sales integrity and why they feel that way.
We measure many things in sales. Isn’t it time to measure our sales integrity quotient?