Read a good article today on the HBR blog by Clif Reichard. Can You Sell Without Lying? He approached customer service from another angle – the beginning of the relationship with a customer – sales. Given some of the comments, he must have hit a nerve in a touchy subject – integrity. The great salespeople recognize that:
- Their efforts are a solution to a customer problem,
- Real value must be created from the transaction,
- A single sale of questionable integrity may preclude much more lucrative opportunities later,
- Matching customer needs with product/service capabilities is their primary function, and
- Sometimes, walking away from a bad deal is a good thing.
The pivot point is that each part of an organization “owns” honesty. If a link in the integrity chain is broken, we all lose. Customers lose because their needs aren’t met. Sales loses because their reputation as a business function is tarnished. The whole organization loses because they spend valuable time trying to recover from an avoidable situation.