Online Marketing

Ethics in Sales with Richard Forrest | Sales Expert Insight Series

My name is John Dolan from sales pop online says magazine and pipeliner CRM, and today I am joined by Richard Forrest, who is in Sydney, Australia welcome Richard. Thank you very much, John yeah nice to see you today and Richard is the managing director of the fmg group and today. What we really wanted to talk about is ethics and sales, and why ethics and honesty matters and let’s face it when most people, particularly outside of sales, shall we say when most people think of sales, they don’t necessarily think of ethics and honesty.

That’s not the first thing that comes to their minds right. They always think oh yeah. It could be wary of salespeople because they’re a bit slippery. So let’s talk Richard. Why do you think ethics and honesty is so important? And how do you better project that, as a salesperson yeah, I think I think is so important to everything we do and you see almost tends to get a bit of a bad reputation for that? I think it’s because some people do have underhanded practices, but for me the reason for honesty other than it being a core value.

Is that it’s a long term approach to whatever you do, if you’re dishonest in a sales presentation, inevitably nothing it no sale, goes under percent smoothly from beginning to end something’s going to come undone and if you haven’t got in the bank, some honesty and credibility to Back you up it’s very hard to overcome load and you end up with a very unhappy customer. So right from the outset, I think demonstrating honesty and integrity and means you can build a great client relationship and it builds your brand and your own personal image yeah.

I I couldn’t, I couldn’t agree more because, as you say, there are things that are going to come up during a sales process and building the building that the trust factor is huge. But so how do you go about that? Because, as I said again, I mean people aren’t just going to trust you just because you show up right, you’re going to have to be improve that. So how do you go about that as a salesperson? Well, I think I think initially it’s making sure you don’t over promise, it’s doing the right thing by the person and showing them respect so, whether you’re talking to them or their PA, show them honesty and dignity and when you’re actually selling be honest with what you’re Doing and don’t over promise, don’t oversell somebody’s looking for a product or solution that you can provide.

They are looking for your solution, but if what I’m looking for is inside the remit of what you could provide, the best thing you can do is tell them that, because if they still decide to choose you – and they may well do at least they do – that With their eyes open, and so I think the key thing is make sure when you’re presenting your product, you do so honestly clearly know over-promising. Yes, so that’s a and that’s a difficult thing sometimes because, let’s face it most salespeople, are you know optimist by nature? I mean you have to have a certain kind of crazy optimism to be in sales right because you suffer from so much rejection, so sometimes there’s the temptation to like try and fit the square peg into the round hole, and it’s not necessarily being dishonest.

It’s just that you’re so enthusiastic and trying desperately to make this fit for the customer, even though when it’s patently it’s not going to. So how do you? How do you encourage a salesperson to overcome that? To take that step back and say: okay is what I’m doing now. Really the right thing. I think that’s exactly right. It’s it comes down to doing the right thing and the right thing is not just doing the right thing for my bonus check at the end of the month.

It’s about doing the right thing by the customer and it’s doing the right thing by the company and it’s also doing the right thing by the operations team who are probably going to have to deliver on what you’ve sold. And if you get all of those things wrong, you’re going to get a wealth of pain from all of those different people, so actually in some ways you learn fairly quickly. You can’t overstep too much, but I really think that the approach that I really focus on when I’m selling and when I’m talking to people about selling, is one of asking really good questions of the customer to find out exactly what you need.

You don’t need to overcomplicate, but you do do need to find out exactly what they’re looking for and if you can do that you can say to them. This is what we can provide this. What we can’t sometimes they’ll choose a competitor over you, but many times. If that’s been oversold, they’ll come back to you at the end of it and say you know what we bought the wrong one, we’ll all a total to your game, but that sort of long-term approach makes a big difference.

Ya know I like that. I did the idea of you know qualifying properly asking the proper questions, because I mean: let’s face it. Sometimes again, I said enthusiasm or optimism or something takes over and says people tend to skid past the qualifying phase a little bit too quickly and that obviously leads to problems down the road. So so, when you’re working with with salespeople, how do you get them to kind of you know slow down cooler, jets, a moment and and and really get into the questioning phase and qualify properly? So how do you revise them together? I think they they sorry say again.

No I’m saying how do you advise them to do that yeah? I always advise them to, as you say, take it slowly and understand that the client’s needs, because you’ve got something which can do a whole range of stuff, and only some of that is going to be what your client needs. So there’s no point in talking to them about things: they don’t need and therefore qualifying them and taking the time to understand exactly what they can’t they’re their pain points in this situation are is really vital.

I think one of the best things that a salesperson can do is see their clients problems through their clients eyes, because when you can do that, you can identify what the issues are for them and where your service or product can fit in. So my counseling always is take your time build your questions, understand what are the key questions and then view the problem from the customers solid and because you’ll build a really good rapport with them.

They’ll understand that you understand their issue and they’ll also open up and they’ll, be much more likely to trust you, because it’s not just about finding an issue and selling on that issue. It’s about finding exactly whether desintegration those yeah, it’s always an interesting. It was fascinating to me bit it’s an interesting phenomena that sometimes we forget that we’re consumers ourselves that we’re buyers ourselves and and sometimes and, as you say in a sales situation, says people forget to put themselves in the shoes of the buyer.

Yet you know they’re in the shoes of the buyer, all the time themselves personally, whether it’s buying consumer goods or whatever themselves. So that’s a really that’s a really critical piece is that empathy, peas are putting them in their shoes, but it just doesn’t seem to come. Naturally, to everybody, why do you think that is? I think I think too many people are focused on making the sale on the outcome and not the process.

One of the first things I learnt in sales is that you don’t make a sale by doing a lousy presentation and posing really hard if you can leave sales that way, but it’s rare the way the way to make sales is in the presentation phase and the Presentation phase is not a verbal monologue of the sales person present or talking at the prospect. It’s about a two-way conversation where the two people are aligned – and you will know this when, when you meet somebody and you gel with them you’re having a conversation back and forwards, and you find things in common, the same is true in sales.

The sales person needs to find what they have in common solution, wise with that prospect, as well as building rapport and when they do that they go on a journey together, it’s not a one-way giving of information. It’s absolutely two people together. Taking that journey understanding what needs to be done, and so by taking the focus off the result at the end and the cloves put it into the presentation and having that presentation being a two-way process, not a one-way process, and because, when you get to the close Likelihood is the survey the client is going to say, okay.

So what are the next steps you don’t actually have to if you put your your energy in the right area? So so it’s an interesting point that you raise right. I mean it’s about having obviously engaging in that conversation. Getting that kind of rapport going and – and I think part of that is you know that you have to recognize that especially a b2b sales right. You know, there’s a lot riding on behalf, the buyer right.

It can be, it can be a career enhancing or a career, limiting decision that they make. Depending on how that works out, and I think going that empathy and really drilling down in that early conversation, you know, can really make a big difference. So how do you also advise your salespeople to go beyond like surface level questioning in order to really get down to what’s going on with with the buyer, with the buying committee with the company? All those other factors are may come into play.

Yeah then you’re absolutely right, you’re generally selling to one of several people who go fine from you and so again that’s the reason for building a great relationship, rapport and um ability a good conversation with that decision maker because they have to take their conversation with you. The salesperson back to the other members of a team and sell it to them, and so they need to be able to do that effectively.

It’s very hard to third-person sell. But if you believe that the person who sold to you is being honest and it’s given you a really good solution, it’s much much easier. So I always suggest try and get as many of the buyers people in the room if you can. But if you can’t make sure that you’re talking about the the problems that exist not just in the the people who are present in that meeting, not just in their areas of the business but also in the affiliated areas of the business, because that’s what they’re going To translate back to their colleagues, so if you’re talking to the head of Finance but there’s an IT component about what you’re talking about, if you can talk to that head of finance about what the IT person is likely to be suffering from the head of finance, Is going to go back to IT and talk about that? It’s going to resonate so you’re, bringing the other buyers in without a and and that again is building more trust and credibility.

Right because you do that, you have initiated that connection. Yes, that’s exactly right and I see salespeople get things wrong right from the word. Go not even in the sales presentation when they’re trying to get through to a decision maker to talk to them. They bully their way past the EA or PA or receptionist them, and they expect that that’s going to be acceptable and nobody going to find out about it.

Inevitably, the decision-maker finds out about it and you’ve lost it before you even get, and even to your point I mean some go goes far as like. I really don’t want to get the IT people involved because they could like sabotage my deal. So, let’s see how I can keep them out of this, so just moving on to another thing about honesty and ethics in that in selling. So there’s so much automation has come in now and there’s box and there’s a I there’s a I selling assistance right on linkedin, which is just nuts.

You know I saw that from somebody who a fake linking in profiles, but so as buyers we’re now you know, got so much automation, we’ve got AI come in and we’ve got all of those things. Do you think that that really is an opportunity for salespeople to kind of raise themselves? Above all of that, because we we’re we’re kind of confused? Now we don’t know what’s real anymore, so you’ve got a great opportunity to engage with me at on a human to human level right, yes, I absolutely agree with that.

I think, as salespeople we’ve become, it’s become easier to get lazy because there is so much automation there. We can rely on that and a new lead pops up. It’s a sales qualified lead coming through from the crm or something like that. But the reality is a whole heap of people in there who probably have a need for products and services who aren’t popping up and they’re just getting getting emails.

And we get to say everybody gets the same thing. Lots of what these. What people call spam and they don’t respond to it – the conversation can absolutely cut through. It makes it very apparent, a genuine conversation. It’s a person, it’s not AI somebody. You can believe in and trust, and also it builds a conversation that is personal to that. That specific prospect, and not an email message that was written to be relevant for a couple of thousand people or a hundred thousand, so in reality, as a salesperson, you can use that relationship.

You can use that honesty. You can use that. You know genuine outreach as almost as like as a competitive differentiator today right, yes, I agree. I really do agree. I think that smart sales teams are going to get back in more human to human contact. I’m not saying they should give up all the electronic media at all. Absolutely that’s got a really great place, but it should be a supplement to the human to human solid, because that’s the way that you build trust, really, you can look at websites and people’s LinkedIn profiles, but today there’s always that nagging doubt that I wonder if this Is genuine or not, if you don’t have with a phone call or a face-to-face meeting, now the excellent lamb? Listen Richard we’re bumping up against the end of the time.

So before we go, I wanted to give you a chance to tell people a little bit more about yourself about your organization, how they can learn more about you. Thank you very much, John yeah. I run a company called forest marketing group or fmg in Australia. We’re a specialist business to business sales prospecting company and we go out and we source qualified sales leads through conversations on the telephone.

Business-To-Business we’ve got a sister company in the UK called air marketing group, and so if anybody wants to contact either air marketing group, it’s air marketing, Cote, UK or Forest marketing group is FM group Condor au happy to talk to them. Yeah, that’s great! Listen! It’s been great talking with you, Richard’s been a fascinating conversation. I really do think that honesty, ethics and relationships are going to come and not just back into vogue.

I don’t think they’ve ever gone away, but I think they’re going to become more important as buyers get more confused by the amount of information. That’s been slung at them. Yes, I totally agree John. Thank you very much. Alright, my name is John golden says pop online says magazine, pipeliner CRM, see old for another expert interview really soon. Thank you. So I encourage you to subscribe to sales pop dotnet.

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