Saturday , April 21 2018
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Sales Reps: Do the Right Thing

For 12 years, I taught the subject of “Personal Selling” as an adjunct professor at Loyola University Maryland. A textbook was required in class by the academic-industrial complex, and once in awhile I actually used it–often to highlight the crazy ideas that PhD.s who write textbooks often have about the business world. In one textbook that I used, I highlighted a section called “Cultivating Subordinates”, which illustrated the benefit and value to sales reps of being nice to the subordinates–the lower levels–in a B2B prospect’s organization. I would open up a discussion with the class, asking why sales reps should go out of their way to treat the rank and file with courtesy.

Eager hands would shoot up and similar responses would fill the air – “Because they can get you to the boss”, “So the gatekeeper will put your calls through” and “They can influence the boss to buy your product”. Sooner or later, someone would raise their hand and clearly state, “Because that’s how you’re supposed to treat everyone”. And as I allowed the poignant insight a moment or two to sink in, with raised hands slowly and sheepishly lowering, it was always clear that the substance of the matter had been uncovered.

After relishing the moment and allowing business and humanity to merge in the minds of a room full of college students, I’d share how amazing it is that doing the right things for the right reasons can serendipitously deliver business benefit at the same time. For you do treat people like people because it’s the right thing to do. Not surprisingly, in so doing, you are a much more pleasant and likable person. And, of course, people buy from people they like. This applies within your own organization as well because people not only buy from people they like but they also work with people they like. They work harder to help make things happen – make things happen for clients!

So, do the right thing for the right reasons.

Good things will result.

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