When selling or marketing B2B products, it is an ethical approach for a dedicated salesperson to scrutinize every email, newsletter, and other forms of messaging before it is publicized.
Sales ethics, though very important, is often neglected by sales reps.
Sales ethics is good behavior in which the sales rep has an equal and honest attitude towards customers. Every lead is treated respectfully by the sales rep, which enables the sales team to build long-lasting relationships and maintain trust with customers and prospects, increase profits and build a good ethical sales culture.
How do sales ethics and honesty relate to profitmaking?
That means listening and respecting customers’ needs, and being honest while you provide your solution. In particular, as entrepreneurs or sales professionals, your first rule is you shouldn’t forcefully impose your product on potential customers.
What Is Ethical Behavior For A Sales Professional?
The word sales ethics refers to the approach your sales team takes when selling the product. It is about being trustworthy, providing accurate information, and caring about the needs of your customers.
Your sales rep and entire sales team should maintain their professional integrity at all times, in contrast to the “sell-at-all-costs” mentality.
Relationships are the lifeblood of SaaS, which is why you can sell to someone once and keep them as a customer for years to come and ease up your sales process if you have good ethical sales behavior.
To maximize customer relationships, more than a CRM is required. The X factor behind building and improving them can actually be sales ethics. In this regard, prioritizing ethical behavior makes a lot of financial sense and is also morally right.
Building trust becomes even more important due to COVID-influenced market turbulence. When your customers decide which tools and software to keep in their tech stack, consistent value is a primary consideration.
Your clients will be more likely to stick with you if they trust you to help them – and that increases your MRR and reduces your churn rate.
Top Unethical Behavior Sales Teams Should Avoid
Companies are having a difficult time keeping their conversion rates high and their growth plans viable during these difficult economic times. Even upright sales representatives are tempted to bend ethical standards when quotas seem impossible to meet, and the price of failure is high.
It’s tricky to realize that a sales professional can act unethically without intending to harm the company code of conduct and ethical values.
The boundaries of ethical sales practices may not be sufficiently covered in sales training, resulting in your marketing team not being aware of them. A high-margin deal can be especially challenging when on a call with a prospect. It can be very tempting to twist data or make over-promises when you’re in the middle of a sales crisis.
Most of the time, though, an ethical oversight or misstep will come back to haunt you and result in the dissolution of a business relationship and damage to the company’s reputation and your sales manager’s personal brand, depending on its severity.
Benjamin Franklin’s words remain apt: “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”
Sales managers should draw clear boundaries and enforce discipline where necessary when it comes to boundary setting in order to build business ethics and promote ethical selling to reach sales goals.
You can easily avoid these mistakes if you establish your marketing and sales team’s code of ethics and ethical practices carefully. Check out some sales quotes to motivate your sales team.
Mistakes to avoid BEFORE your prospect makes a purchase
While trying to get your prospect to pay for your product and become one of your existing customers, the sales team is sure to avoid the following unethical behaviors at all costs;
1. Lying to prospects about what is available
You know your SaaS product doesn’t have certain features or offer certain services that the customer wants, but out of the need to close one more sale, you tell them during a sales demo session or sales call that it does and they happily rush to sign up.
If you consider the big picture, what do you think would be the customer’s reaction when they discover that the feature they need so bad is not available in your product?
You would hurt your social proof, put yourself out there as a bad salesperson to the customer and his networks (because they speak to each other and share business updates) and your organization’s values would be dragged into the mud.
When you promise your customer an endless list of support features, you may have the best of intentions, but to ensure product performance and support availability, of course, you want to do everything you can. In the case of a stricken customer or prospect, you may even wish to offer a generous discount.
It is unethical to promise many additional features and foster unrealistic value expectations, even if they are benevolent. Transparency and accuracy are essential for your sales reps to convey the potential value of your product, ramp-up times, and customer support.
2. Don’t be full of yourself – literally
I have attended sales demos with sales reps who never stopped telling me about themselves and what they were selling. Yes, the sales demo sessions and sales pitches are a time to help your prospect learn more about the product you are selling and how they can benefit from it, but you can achieve better results when you do your research about the prospect and his company beforehand and use relatable use cases, case studies, or even humor during your sales pitch.
This would help your prospect connect faster and create mental pictures of themselves using your product in their heads, many organizations quickly become customers through this kind of sales pitch or demo.
3. Use the right kind of data, the right way
The goal of ethical selling is to help your prospect make the right decision even if it is not your product. One could even argue that, in SaaS, sales professionals serve as their customers’ trusted advisors. Your code of ethics and sales strategy work well together when it comes to using data effectively.
Your prospects will be able to get a better understanding of your product if you present accurate data to them. Provide social proof and case studies where your product’s value is empirically demonstrated. A sales representative for us might mention our long history of helping customers like SaleSpace and RedBull drive sales, improve customer engagement, and accelerate rep productivity.
It is important to use data in the right way so that your prospects are able to understand the value and capabilities of your product. Also, it illustrates your understanding of your own product’s value and how you think it fits in with their needs and the values of your organization. This is one of the most effective ways to build trust.
4. Believe in your product
The prospect can sense when you are lagging in confidence and that goes against all forms of sales ethics. Of course, they do not expect you to be 1000% fluent during the sales demo, but they do expect you to have all the answers they need to decide if your product is a great choice to meet their needs.
During your sale pitch or demo, use powerful words, sound confident, and look your prospect in the eye. Try as much as you can to cut down on words and phrases that make you sound unprofessional like “maybe”, “I think”, “we could”, “perhaps”, etc.
It’s hard to sell highly technical solutions to professional buyers if you don’t believe in the product you’re working with.
And when you do believe in it, it is much easier to learn the product inside out and communicate the value it creates to the potential buyers you talk to.
5. Respect your competitors
An important part of your job as a sales professional is understanding your company’s brand position and competitive landscape. In order to succeed, you must understand what makes your offering different from those of your competitors.
Speaking honestly about competitor offerings is important when dealing with customers. It is especially important not to criticize or badmouth competitors – that can be perceived by customers as unethical and against company policies.
During a sales call, for example, if a prospect asks how your product compares to your main competitor’s, stress the standout features and qualities of your product instead of talking down the alternative.
Mistakes to avoid AFTER your prospect makes a purchase
While trying to keep your customers coming back and referring you to others, the sales team should be sure to avoid the following unethical behaviors at all costs;
1. Keep your promises
Perhaps you’ve promised a 21-day free trial, stick to that.
Do not charge their credit cards or bill them before their consent. You do not want to leave the compression that you are just after the money they are paying. Of course, you are, but never ever trade your personal values for money, you might not be scared to lose on the customer but think of customer loyalty, active referrals/other customers they may bring you, or a bad online review that could cost you much more than one customer.
Remember what they say about the best marketing being a happy customer.
2. Create time for customer support
Handling complaints is not a luxury to your customers. It is a basic requirement your salespeople and marketing people should ensure they devote time to conduct.
If your product is too technical for the sales team to handle,m you can hire a support company or trusted advisor in that area to conduct and handle customer complaints promptly.
Tip: Do not wait for your customers to have complaints before you follow up to see how they are doing. This is the right behavior especially if you sell a SaaS product.
Salespeople can follow up with customers through ethical methods such as email marketing, surveys, and sharing customer success stories.
To make it easy, you can devote a single salesperson to this task. Higher customer satisfaction is the goal here.
3. Regular sales training sessions
Sales operations and sales management will only improve when employees in sales are constantly drilled with the right behavior.
It is inevitable that you will have to conduct regular coaching sessions that include performance tracking, rating, and other growth-related stuff to establish sales ethics within your organization.
Organizing such training sessions will help you better understand your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, analyze their behavior patterns and find the solutions that best align with ethical sales practices in order to keep your salespeople ahead of your competition.
Consequently, your sales team will learn self-evaluation, strive to exceed their results, and become better prepared for ethically right actions which will help you strengthen your sales team on their way to better performance and ethical behavior.
4. Reward ethical behavior
Taking the time to appreciate your salespeople’s efforts in showing ethical behaviors is another way to make ethical sales behavior a habit. In order to motivate your employees to follow your path, reward their proper conduct.
A reward may take the form of a weekly/monthly/quarterly award, recognition, incentive, or even praise.
It is not only about rewarding the exemplary behavior of sales reps, but also about appreciating complaints raised by customers due to violations of sales ethics. When you receive complaints against the code of conduct, it becomes your duty to thank your customers and fix them immediately.
By rewarding ethical behavior, companies can go a long way to building an ethical sales culture and ethical values in their selling business.
5. efficient hiring process
If you think about the essential sales metrics, you probably envision someone who will succeed. Nonetheless, it is important to look for other human qualities in a sales representative who will maintain ethical behavior, including humbleness, honesty, resilience, energy, and quick thinking.
Moreover, during a journey of miscellaneous experiences, where a salesperson faces many rejections, handles objections, sets new goals, communicates with prospects and existing customers, and delivers efficient solutions, one has to be very level-headed, handling all stressful situations with utmost calmness and professionalism.
Hence, the primary responsibility falls on the respective HR employee to find a candidate who can cope with the challenging environment and emerge as a champion while maintaining an ethical standard at all times.
Since sales is naturally competitive and sales is constantly assessed by numbers and metric measures, ethical selling can quickly be neglected.
This will negatively affect business performance as a whole.
In total, 2020 reported about 2 million fraudulent transactions, resulting in a total of 3.3 million dollars. Not all sales scams are orchestrated by scammers but most originate from unconstitutional ethics in sales.
Thus sales managers should encourage the sales team toward healthy competition and ensure the correct ethical culture and code of conduct.
There are many ethical approaches to business.
Sales ethics can bring a whole organization to another level. Incorporate ethical culture into an organization and you’ll enable strong customer loyalty in sales representatives and sales teams – and promote sustainable growth for your business.
This is possible if we make ethical decisions in sales.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sales Ethics
Why is ethics so important in sales?
Clearly creating and communicating ethical codes of business conduct is important to meet ethical sales obligations. Ethics in selling is good business.
What are the 7 principles of ethics?
The seven principles of ethics approach aim at using seven mid-level principles for cases (non-maleficence. Benefit. Health maximization, effectiveness. Respect for autonomy, Justice, and proportionality.