Selling With Integrity – Why It Is So Important
In today’s day and age, selling with integrity can make the difference between positioning yourself as just another salesperson; or positioning you as a trusted advisor.
Depending on whom you speak with – the sales industry has a bit of a bad reputation.
From slogans like ‘always be closing’ and ‘sell me this pen’; to movies that frame salespeople as people with no soul and out to make a quick buck – trust and sales are not words commonly used together.
Fortunately for you; it’s not difficult to stand out from the pack.
And the way to do this, is by selling with integrity.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What does selling with integrity mean?
- How selling with integrity helps make you stand out from your competition
- The step by step process to sell with integrity
Selling With Integrity – Why It Is So Important
What Does Selling With Integrity Mean?
Plainly put; selling with integrity means to sell with a person’s best interests, and their desired outcome in mind.
It means to sell from a place of service.
Selling with integrity means to ensure that before you even go into detail about your products features and benefits, you’ve checked that you can in fact help them get what they need and desire.
Contrary to what is widely taught; a salesperson’s role isn’t to sell to everybody.
Instead – for your own success, it’s crucial that you know exactly who your target market is, that you qualify early and religiously, and only present if you have a solution that you can in fact prescribe.
The Old Model Conflicts With Selling With Integrity
The old model of selling generally looks like this:
- Meet with your potential clients
- Build some rapport
- Present your product or service
- Handle objections
- Ask for the sale
As per our article in Entrepreneur; we call this ‘Premature Presentation’ – and it’s hurting your sales.
The reason why this model conflicts with selling with integrity, is because it doesn’t learn whether or not to can actually help them before you present your solution.
It comes from a place of take – rather than a place of serving.
Selling with integrity means that before you even talk about a solution, you have an obligation to ensure that they’ll deeply benefit from what it is that you sell.
There is a process to do this, in which we’ll detail in this article shortly.
Selling With Integrity Will Help Your Positioning
Fortunately for you; most of the competition will be using this older model of selling.
They’ll present their offer with a spray and pray approach; presenting their features and benefits, with the hope that something will stick.
Because you’re reading this article, you now have the advantage of ensuring you don’t fall into the same trap.
The difference between a status quo salesperson and a trusted advisor, is that trusted advisors are always selling with integrity.
A trusted advisor is a person your clients can turn to for advice.
Because you’ve already built trust, they’ll refer you to new potential clients, and will buy from you again and again.
To become a trusted advisor, we recommend that you learn, embody, and practice six distinct traits:
- Selling with integrity
- Experience and knowledge
- The ability to learn
To learn more about positioning yourself as a trusted advisor, read the linked article below.
Related article: How To Position Yourself As A Trusted Advisor
Selling With Integrity – The Step By Step Process
To ensure that you’re always consistently selling with integrity, we highly recommend that you follow a step by step framework; also known as a sales process.
A sales process is a road map that helps guide you and your potential clients on a positive sales experience; which also helps you recognise whether you can or not actually get them their desired outcome.
Below is a breakdown of the seven step sales process to help guide you towards selling with integrity.
The first part of any sales conversation, as well as the 7 step sales process is building rapport with your potential clients.
Without building rapport, your potential clients won’t feel comfortable disclosing anything and your sales conversation won’t move forward.
Rapport is important because people buy from people they like and trust.
By building rapport, you’ll be able to ask deep diving questions that can ultimately lead to a buying decision.
Related article: A Guide To Building Sales Rapport
The second part of the 7 step sales process when selling with integrity, is qualifying your potential clients prior to going into a deep dive sales conversation.
Many Sales Professionals make the mistake of speaking with people they think are potential clients – but are not qualified to either afford their product or service or make a buying decision.
By qualifying people early, you’ll save a lot of time, energy, and money.
The qualifying framework to add to your 7 step sales process, is borrowed from an acronym called BANT.
Originally designed by IBM, it’s an easy to remember framework to remember what you need to ask to qualify your potential clients correctly.
BANT stands for:
- Time frame
Further reading: Qualifying Sales Leads – A Step By Step Guide
Pre-Framing & Positioning
The third segment of the 7 step sales process when selling with integrity, is what makes our sales process very different from the others out there.
We teach something called a pre-frame.
The deep diving sales conversation you will have with your potential client, is called the frame.
You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, and ‘frame the conversation’ in a way which will ultimately lead to a decision being made – either proceeding with a sale or deciding you may not be the right fit for one another.
The pre-frame is the conversation you have prior to the frame; in this case, it is what’s discussed prior to going into your deep dive sales conversation.
During the pre-frame, you want to cover three important things:
- Ensure all decision makers are present
- Let them know that you’ll be asking a lot of questions, to work out whether you can in fact help and serve them and their needs
- Give them comfort that at the end of the conversation, it is more than OK to say no if they’re not interested. Also let them know that many people use the “I need to think about it” as a way of covering for no. By giving them comfort, they’ll be more transparent.
The reason the pre-frame is key, is for two reasons.
Firstly, you’re removing two core sales objections up front – the I need to think about it objection, and I need to speak to objection.
Secondly – you’re getting permission to ask deep diving questions, which is the next part of our 7 step sales process.
Using a pre-frame will be a game changer for your business and overall sales process, because you’ll get to the underlying truth faster than using a traditional sales methodology.
Related article: Positioning In Sales – How To Sell Effectively
The Key To Selling With Integrity – Asking Powerful Questions
The most important part of the 7 step sales process when selling with integrity, as well as your overall ability to close more sales, – is the art of asking the right questions.
At The 5% Institute, we emphasise the importance of asking questions because we believe in using a consultative sales approach.
By asking the right questions – you’ll be able to help guide your potential client toward the sale and help them sell themselves on the need for a solution.
During your 7 step sales process, we recommend asking the following question examples:
- Finding pain
- Learning about their ideal outcome
- How they make buying decisions
- Why they’re speaking with you
- How long they’ve had their issue
We’ve written numerous articles on questioning and question categories, and recommend you read them to learn more. Check out the linked articles below to find out how.
- Sales Probing Questions
- Open Ended Sales Questions
- 10 x Questions To Ask A Potential Client
- 5 x Closing Questions To Win More Sales
An important note: finding pain is one of the most important ingredients for your questions and 7 step sales process.
This is because if you can’t find friction or any issues with their current situation – they won’t need to make a change.
The article below details how to do so effectively, without being pushy or breaking rapport.
Further reading: Pain Points & Sales – Your Ultimate Guide
Discussing money is another important part of the 7 step sales process, because you can use the discussion to build monetary value around what a solution for their problem and pain points will mean.
When you’re discussing money, you ultimately want to understand two important things:
- What is it costing them by having these issues? Learn the financial and personal impact of what the pain points mean.
- How much would they pay to fix it, and have a solution?
Discussing this here makes asking for the sale, and your closing questions a breeze.
Once money has been clearly discussed, the next stage of the 7 step sales process is presenting your solution.
As previously mentioned, the spray and pray method is outdated and won’t help your closing rate.
Instead – when you’re presenting your product or service, we recommend you do so by prescribing it to their pain points and demonstrate how each of their problems will be solved with specific features and benefits you have.
Using a prescription approach as a specialist would, will align you as a trusted adviser, rather than just another salesperson trying to make a quick sale.
Selling with integrity means only prescribing a solution if you can serve them and help them attain their requirements or needs.
Objections & Asking For The Sale
Finally, the last stage of the 7 step sales process when selling with integrity, is handling their areas of concern, and asking for the sale.
Although many people advocate using word tracks and sales scripts, we recommend not using either.
Instead – we recommend using a simple and easy to remember objections framework.
The framework is:
- Listen carefully
- Repeat back the objection, and ask them to expand
- Validate the area of concern
- Re-frame the concern
- Confirm you’re on the same page
To learn how to do this in detail, read the article here to find out how.
Once you’ve handled all their areas of concern, simply ask if they’d like you to help them achieve what they intend to have solved and have them sign any agreements you may have in place.
Selling With Integrity – Final Thoughts
It’s crucial that if you want to stand out from your competition and position yourself as a trusted advisor, that you always keep and practice the mindset of selling with integrity.
In a world where people are constantly looking at taking rather than serving and making ‘quick money’; selling with integrity gives you an excellent opportunity to acquire clients for life.
If you’re interested in learning how you can take your sales to the next level, check out our online sales training program to help you with this below.