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Shane Decker: Integrity Salesmanship

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Shane Decker: Integrity Salesmanship

If the client doesn’t trust you, you’ll never get past the greeting

BY SHANE DECKER

Published in the November 2013 issue.

As consumers, we’ve all had bad experiences with salespeople who would stop at nothing to sell their product. A salesperson can kill a brand, a dealership or a store by hiding the truth, “shading” the truth, and outright lying.

The American Dictionary definition of integrity is “Soundness of character, honesty, perfect condition.” The dictionary defines professionalism as “Conduct, character, or aims and/or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.” As you can see, the two are close relatives. Is your character in perfect condition? What conduct or qualities mark you as a salesperson?

Before you sell your product or your store, you have to sell yourself. If the client doesn’t trust you, you’ll never get past the greeting. Your entire sales team is only as good as each individual’s integrity. So not only do you have to sell with passion, you have to sell with sincerity, humility, and a level of professionalism that is unmatched by anyone else.

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If the client has been in another store first, your professionalism has to surpass the professionalism of the last presenter. If the client asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, tell them, “I don’t know, but I will find out and get you the correct information immediately.” Never make up an answer that’s not truthful. What if you have to remember it later, and what if they find out it wasn’t the truth?

I was in a store years ago when a sales rep from a diamond line walked in. I was with the owner, who told one of his salespeople to tell the rep he wasn’t in the store today. Not only did that owner lie in front of me, but he also told his employee to go lie on his behalf.

If you want a superlative sales team, you have to lead by the right example. Your word must be your bond. Always tell the truth. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you tell a client you’re going to follow up on something, do it. If you make a promise, keep it. Clients trust you with their secrets, their feelings, and their emotions. Those are fragile and precious things and must be protected responsibly.

Clients also trust us with the knowledge we give them. If a diamond is an SI1 or an I1, call it correctly. If it’s an F or a K, call it correctly. Make sure that what is perceived is the truth. Don’t make it look like it’s a better deal than it is. That actually shows a weakness in selling skills. And shading the truth is the same as lying.

Professionalism, honesty, conduct, and integrity — these are the most important sales tools you have, and you have to guard them with your life. These qualities build the client’s self-confidence in your ability. When you sell with character, your clients will always trust you, and you will always be their salesperson.

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