Sales Coach Christine Harrington
Sales Integrity, Character, Reputation

How’s Your Sales Integrity? Read on to Find Out.

The year was 1999 and Y2K was approaching. Every evening, the news ran another hype broadcast about the horror stories of what could happen when the clock chimes midnight on January 1, 2000.

It was reported the national grid could falter leaving the nation without electricity, water, gas, telephone, cable…well you name it. Everything would come to a grinding halt if the Y2K problems weren’t solved. Airplanes flying could crash into each other and corporations could lose all their data.

At every water cooler, and business meeting people were talking about it. Corporations around the nation were consumed with fixing the glitch before the glitch happen. No one really knew what would happen at that fatal midnight hour, but everyone was reacting to it as if it were the Apocalypse!

One night after work, I stopped by my parents house to check in on them. As I pulled into the driveway, my dad was carrying a carton of bottled water. I didn’t think anything of it, because he often bought bottled water.

As I held the front door open for dad, I turned to see 12 cartons of water sitting in his living room! Now that was unusual! Dad heard on the news that it was a good idea to stock up on bottled water, because Y2K was right around corner. He told me he bought all that was left!

People from all over the nation were clamoring to buy bottle water, survival food, and power generators anticipating the big CRASH!

New Years eve, 1999, my son was 7 years old. I tucked him into bed at 9:30 pm and I decided to sit up until midnight, out of curiosity more than anything, anticipating Y2K.

Midnight rolls around and nothing happen. The TV was still working. The lights were still on. It was just another New Years Day in Indianapolis, IN.

Well, you know the rest of the story. Y2K came and went without so much of a flickering light. Nothing happen, but dad had 14 cases of bottled water!

This was one of the biggest stories of persuasion in my lifetime! A persuasion that almost sparked a panic and thank God it didn’t.

So how did the media persuade so many Americans? By asking the “what if” questions for nearly three years proceeding Y2K! This is a lesson in sales.

So the question is how do you persuade when selling? The answer is you persuade not by telling but by asking questions. Selling is made simple by asking the right questions, with the right tone and body language. So many times selling processes are so complicated it’s hard to stay focused on the buyer because you’re trying to keep track of where you are in the sales process or sales cycle!

Instead learn to be a communicator. .

Shark Tank is a persuasion study. Those that strike the deals are the most persuasive storytellers of their products while asking compelling questions.


Warning! If you’re persuading for self-interest, it becomes sales manipulation. A sales career is built on sales integrity. Sales integrity allows you to sleep at night, because you have nothing to hide. With the fear and guilt removed, you have the freedom and peace to be more of who you are in selling!

Without sales integrity the sales person will over-sell, over-state, and push for the sale whether the buyer needs it, wants it or can afford it. I saw this first hand in the cemetery and funeral business.

An advisor I worked with only gave the choice of the most expensive crypts and graves to the families that came in after the death of a loved one. The cemetery had three price ranges of grave sites and the price varied by location.

Repeatedly, I heard her tell families that the lower price sections were sold out (which wasn’t true) in order to sell the highest priced locations. She took advantage of grieving families to make a higher commission. Well, it will come as no surprise, she didn’t last long! She compromised her integrity for a few hundred dollars more in commission.

The only way you can build a long-term career, and an excellent reputation with clients and companies is to sell with integrity. There is no compromise on your character.

Here’s how John Wooden describes it…

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

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