What's Trust Got To Do With It?
'Sales' and 'Ethics' are two words often considered to be a contradiction in terms - both inside and outside of the sales profession. “How can you tell when a salesperson is lying?” goes the old joke. The answer, of course is, “Their lips are moving.”
Unfortunately, there is truth in jest: Our own research indicates that 97% of salespeople habitually and knowingly misrepresent their products and services. The salespeople that we've studied balk at being considered liars: They 'cleverly' just omit the negatives when extolling their companies' offerings. In their minds, using exaggeration, omissions, puffery, and trickery means they “can't get caught in a lie.”
The fact that many salespeople deliberately lie while conscientiously avoiding being 'caught' suggests a commonly held belief that Lying is Wrong, yet Necessary. This is a Sales Myth. Our research indicates exactly the opposite.
High Probability Selling was evolved out of studying the top 1% of salespeople in 23 industries. High ethical standards is a standout characteristic of these sales superstars: They tend to operate with 'full disclosure,' telling their prospects the negatives of their products as well as the positives. Most of the top one percent believe that their high ethical standards are an important factor in their success.
In his book, Power vs. Force, Dr. David Hawkins, a renowned research psychiatrist, makes the case that almost all people have a powerful intuition for detecting lies. People who are lied to by a salesperson don't necessarily know what the lie is; they just feel a strong distrust, and feel disrespected by the salesperson. Only people who ignore their feelings will buy under those conditions.
Our research validates the importance of Trust and Respect from the Buyer's perspective as well. We've found that the vast majority of people will buy from the salesperson that they trust and respect the most. Interestingly, Buyers' need to trust a salesperson tends to increase along with the purchase price. Unfortunately, most salespeople don't know the right way to tell the truth within the context of a sales presentation.
The numbers tend to support the theory that ethical selling is a key component to sales success. The average income of top sales performers is in the low to mid-six figure range. In contrast, the lower 99% of salespeople earn about the same as the average truck driver. Morally, being ethical is a choice; pragmatically, being ethical is a sales imperative.
What does Trust have to do with Sales Success? The propensity of the top salespeople to tell the truth, coupled with the tendency of most buyers to do business with people they can trust, makes being trustworthy an extremely important sales strategy. Trust is a key factor in Sales Success.