Ethics in Selling

By Greta Schulz

When it comes to selling and using strategies and tactics to get the job done, few people in sales consciously think about the ethics of the way we sell. Ethics in selling will help an organization build a good reputation and consolidate its position in the market. Ethics are learned and can make a big difference in having a loyal customer base and in making sales.

Ethics in selling include:

  1. Truly listening. Good sales executives are partners. Start by being a true listener and understanding the real issue, not just what you want to hear, so you can attempt to sell your product or service. True listening is really understanding the underlying issues and the “whys” behind those issues.
  2. Pulling back. Most sales executives do not know when to push and when to pull back. No one likes to be pushed and hearing something a prospect says that may look like an opportunity is not the time to pounce on them with your solution. Pull back and ask more about what they’ve said. Pulling back at the right time can keep you in a respectful position as well as help you learn what the true issues really are.
  3. Going to bed knowing you did the right thing. My father always taught me: If you can go to bed at night, look up in the dark and say, “I did the right thing for all people not just myself,” then you should be able to sleep well.
  4. Telling it like it is. The key to getting a loyal customer base is to be truthful at all times. When the customer asks you for suggestions, offer the information in its truest form, even if it’s not you as the best option. That’s right. Doing the right thing is always more important than the sale.
  5. Being innovative. The key to having a consistent sales base is to come up with innovative ideas for them. Know what your competitors are doing and stay informed. Use your own methods and strategies to stand out in the competition. Do not copy or borrow ideas. Instead, brainstorm as a team with your prospect or customer and take valuable suggestions. They need you to be a sounding board, not just a pusher of your product or service.
  6. Customer satisfaction. It should be given the highest priority. Come up with surveys and feedback options to know what you are doing right and wrong. Do proper research and know how to appeal to customers on a deeper level.
  7. Knowing what they are thinking about. Your customers have interests and concerns other than what you offer them. Be their sounding board and a connector. Who do they want to meet? What do they need outside of what you offer? Helping in ways that are outside of your scope is the key to being a true partner. That is about truly helping.

Ethics in selling may seem like a luxury you cannot afford. But in the long run, standing out in the rat race and building your empire and loyal customer base calls for utter dedication and ethical selling.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is a best-selling author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell” and works with Fortune 1,000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” a weekly video tip series, or email sales questions to

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