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Integrity Is A Salesperson's Badge Of Honor

By Ron Tartarella

Long-term professional selling is less about the level of your skill than the content of your character. True professionals know that skill may help you close that first sale, but integrity keeps customers coming back.

Integrity may seem like an elusive term, but salespeople who have it share many of the same positive qualities. To check your own integrity level, ask yourself if you:

- Practice sound work ethics. Salespeople with integrity spend work hours working - not chatting by the water cooler or taking long lunches. Because they spend their time wisely, they don't need to falsify call reports. Instead of viewing their territory, prospects or quota as problems to avoid, they approach them as challenges.

- Have the courage of your convictions. Do you try to do what's right despite what others might say or think? Having integrity means having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. When you're faced with an ethical decision, decide based on your standards of self-respect - not on how much money is involved.

- Have character that stands up under scrutiny. Salespeople with integrity are often known for it. Their professional reputation is a primary reason why their customers recommend them to others. Would your colleagues and customers be surprised to hear you'd been accused of professional dishonesty?

- Offer more value than you have to. Smart salespeople know that holding on to customers often means offering them a little more than the competition. Also, they care about their customers, so they want to make sure they get their money's worth - and then some. Integrity makes you want to do more than you need to for your customers - if only for the satisfaction of a job well done.

- Make sure the first order isn't the last. To earn your customers' repeat business, you have to take care of them before and after the sale. Your new customers represent a golden opportunity to earn their future sales and referrals - give them the care and attention they deserve to show them just how much you value them.

- Are confident and assertive. If you have integrity, you have no reason to be underhanded, paranoid or fearful. When you have the best intentions for your prospects, you have a right - maybe even an obligation - to pursue their business aggressively and ask for the sale.

- Are disciplined and reliable. Salespeople with integrity set challenging goals, then work hard to reach them. Their managers can count on them to put in a full day's work every day and to do whatever it takes to earn their customers' business, satisfaction and loyalty. Integrity helps keep you focused on your goals and on the right track to success.

- Make others feel good about themselves. To win your customers' sales and your colleagues' support, you have to be sensitive to their feelings. Making other people feel good makes them want to be around you, and in sales, the more supporters you have, the better. The kind word you say today may earn you a big sale or valuable referral tomorrow.

For those who want to take shortcuts on the path to sales success, integrity may seem like a burden. After all, it's easier to lie about your product's warranty or convince prospects to buy something they can't use than it is to start over with a new prospect. Sometimes integrity makes it harder to make the sale, but it can make it easier for us to live with ourselves. And in the long run, nice guys do finish first.

About the Author:
Ron Tartarella founded a sales agency which represents manufacturers to various industrial concerns including products for the medical field. His creative spirit led him to publish a sales guide called, "The ExSelling Method." Ron also conducts sales workshops at local colleges.

SalesTrax is a national recruiting company uniting sales people and sales opportunities through career fairs and a sales-specific job board. We specialize in pharmaceutical sales positions but represent many other entry and mid-level sales opportunities as well. Visit for more information.

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