1.  Complete, and submit answers to Chapter 3
Review Q’s # 3.1, 3.3, & 3.5
2.  Complete/Submit Chapter 4 Review Q’s # 4.1,
4.2, 4.3
Please use the
attached textbook pages as the resource for all of the answers to these
Include In-text
citation (Manning, Ahearne, & Reece,

Manning, G. L., Ahearne, M., & Reece, a. B.
(2015). Selling Today: Partnering to Create Value, 13th
Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
3.1 List the three
prescriptions that serve as the foundation for development of a relationship
3.3 What major
factors help influence salespeople’s ethical conduct?
3.5 Why must a
salesperson’s ethical sense extend beyond the legal definition of what is right
and wrong? 
4.1 How important are
establishing, building, and maintaining relationships in the selling process?
4.2 List the four
groups of people with whom sales personnel must be able to work effectively.
4.3 Why is partnering
described as the highest-quality selling relationship? Why has the building of
partnerships become more important today?1 of 40
3 Ethics: The Foundation for Partnering Relationships
That Create Value
Source: Michael Ahearne
Learning Objectives
When you finish reading this chapter, you should be able to
1 Explain the importance of developing a relationship strategy
2 Describe issues that challenge the ethical decision making of salespeople
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3 Describe the factors that influence the ethical conduct of sales personnel
4 Describe how ethical decisions influence the building of partnering relationships in selling
5 Discuss guidelines for developing a personal code of ethics that creates value
Improve Your Grade!
Over 10 million students improved their results using the Pearson MyLabs.  Visit mymktlab.com for
simulations, tutorials, and end-of-chapter problems.
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Reality Selling Video—Edith Botello/Mattress
Edith Botello (pictured above) started her career as a salesperson with Mattress Firm
(www.mattressfirm.com), one of the world’s largest and most successful retailers in the
specialty bedding market. Edith, a recent university graduate, is currently the assistant manager
of one of the company’s 560 nationwide stores. She is responsible for the sales productivity,
maintenance, and merchandising of the store. Within her district, she is also an in-market trainer,
recruiter, and intern coordinator.
Edith believes that qualifying (the term Mattress Firm uses to describe need identification) and
listening are the most important skills to be a successful salesperson in her industry. Therefore,
she really tries to understand why customers come to visit her and what will make them get a
great night’s sleep. People come into her store with a wide variety of different needs: Their bed is
20 years old; they are upgrading to a different size; they are buying a college bed; they need a
bed for a guest bedroom; their current bed has dips and sags; they are going in for surgery next
week and would like to recover on a supportive mattress, and so forth. Accordingly, Edith’s goal
is to ask the right questions so that she can sell them a solution based on their individual needs.
Mattress Firm has taught Edith techniques on how to sell to different types of people. Edith
believes that the main reason why many salespeople are successful is that they get their customer
to believe in them by educating them and making them feel great about their purchase. Edith
feels very fortunate to work for a company that values training and customer service.
Building relationships with customers is very important for Edith because people typically buy
from salespeople they like and trust. One way she builds relationships is by getting to know her
customers and talking to them about things that interest them. As Edith puts it, you cannot expect
your customers to open up to you unless you kick things off by asking questions. Edith also
makes use of testimonials to demonstrate how previous customers have resolved their needs with
particular sleep products. Customers like to hear that their salesperson has experience dealing
with, and finding solutions to, problems they are encountering.
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Explain the importance of developing a relationship strategy
Developing a Relationship Strategy for Partnering Style Selling
Developing and applying the wide range of relationship skills needed in today’s complex sales
environment can be challenging. Daniel Goleman, author of the best-selling books Emotional
Intelligence and Working with Emotional Intelligence, notes that there are many forms of intelligence
that influence our actions throughout life.
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Emotional Intelligence
One of these, emotional intelligence
, refers to the capacity for monitoring
our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing
emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships. People with a high level of
emotional intelligence display many of the qualities needed in sales work:
self-awareness, self-confidence, trustworthiness, adaptability, initiative,
optimism, empathy, and well-developed social skills.1
Goleman and other researchers state that there are widespread exceptions to the
rule that IQ predicts success. In the field of personal selling and most other
business occupations, emotional intelligence is a much greater predictor of
success.2 The good news is that emotional intelligence can be enhanced with a
variety of self-development activities, many of which are discussed in these
chapters on developing a relationship strategy that results in partnering style
relationships that add value.
Information age selling involves three major relationship challenges. The first
major challenge is building new relationships. Salespeople who can quickly build
rapport with new prospects have a much greater chance of achieving success in
personal selling. The second major challenge is transforming relationships from
the personal level to the business level. Once rapport is established, the
salesperson is in a stronger position to begin the need identification process. The
third major challenge is the management of relationships. To achieve a high level
of success, salespeople have to manage a multitude of different relationships.”3
Salespeople must develop relationship management strategies that focus on many
individuals and key groups.
In this chapter, we introduce the importance of maintaining high ethical
standards as the very foundation to build long-term partnering style relationships
that create value. Chapter 4
focuses on a win-win philosophy and discusses
the importance of projecting a professional image. Chapter 5 , on adaptive
selling, explains how an understanding of our own communication style and the
communication style of the customer can help us better manage a relationship
process that creates value (Figure 3.1
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Every salesperson should have an ongoing goal of developing a relationship
strategy that adds value to the sale.
Issues Challenging the Ethics of Salespeople
Describe issues that challenge the ethical decision making
of salespeople
In the field of personal selling, the temptation to maximize short-term gains by
some type of unethical conduct is always present and occurs more often than in
most other careers. Salespeople are especially vulnerable to unethical decision
making, because they are subject to many temptations. These temptations are
often motivated by offers from clients, competitors, company personnel, and
suppliers, and may involve personal gain on the part of the salesperson. While
attractive to one or more of the stakeholders associated with the sale in the short
run, they serve as the basis for the destruction of long-term relationship, product,
customer, and presentation strategies. A few examples follow:
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A customer asks you to create a set of product specifications for completing a
sales proposal. A new supplier of yours indicates a sizable direct cash
payment would be made to you if you listed the supplier’s technical data in
the specifications. What would you do?
You work with the research and development departments of the companies
you call on, and therefore are trusted with confidential information about
strategic new product development. One of your larger clients has asked if
you could help them with a project by answering some questions about their
competitor’s research activities. How would you respond?
Your competition whom you know well wants to meet with you to talk about
a competitive bid you will be presenting. A suggestion is made that if you
will bid this job a little higher than they do, they will definitely do you the
same favor on the next purchase made by your customer. What should you
You have visited the buyer twice, and each time the person displayed a great
deal of interest in your proposal. During a recent negotiations meeting, the
buyer hinted that the order might be signed if you could provide tickets to a
national sporting event. Your company has a long-standing policy that gifts
are not to be given under any circumstances. What do you do?
The competition is using exaggerated claims to close the sale of its product.
Should you counteract this action by using exaggerated claims of your own
to build a stronger case for your product?
A lucrative proposal you are scheduled to make will provide only a mediocre
solution to your client’s problem. Your client trusts you, and you know there
are better solutions that are being provided by the competition that you
cannot match. What would you do?
Your sales manager is under great pressure to increase sales. At a recent
meeting of the entire sales staff, this person said, “We have to hit our
numbers no matter what it takes!” Does this emotional appeal change your
way of dealing with customers?
During a recent business trip, you met an old friend and decided to have
dinner together. At the end of the meal, you paid for the entire bill and left a
generous tip. Do you now put these nonbusiness-related expenses on your
expense account?
These ethical dilemmas arise in the field of selling. How do salespeople respond?
Some ignore company policy, disregard local, state, federal, and international
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laws, cast aside personal values and standards of conduct, and yield to the
pressure. Yielding to this pressure often destroys long-term partnering
relationships, and can result in fines, monetary damages, and, in some cases,
prison time.
Ethical decision making is the foundation for partnering style relationship,
product, customer, and presentation strategies.
However, a large number of trusted salespersons are able to resist. They can be
counted on by the various stakeholders to a sale to form highly ethical win-win
relationships, fully understand the customers buying strategies, make honest
nonexaggerated claims about their product, and fully embrace a needs-based
consultative presentation strategy. Therefore, in the partnering style seller/buyer
relationship, a high level of ethical decision making becomes the foundation for
creating value (see Figure 3.2
Factors Influencing Ethical Decision Making of Salespeople
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Describe the factors that influence the ethical conduct of sales personnel
A number of important factors influence ethical decision making. These factors help sales and marketing
personnel to distinguish right from wrong. Figure 3.3
deal honestly and openly with prospects at all times.
outlines the forces that can help salespeople
FIGURE 3.3 Factors Influencing the Ethical Behavior of Salespeople
In personal selling, the temptation to maximize short-term gains by some type of unethical conduct is
always present. The forces in this figure can help salespeople deal honestly and openly with prospects at
all times.
Influences in a Global Economy
Ethical and legal issues that are quite complex on the domestic scene become even more complicated at
the international level. International business is growing, and the United States is deeply involved in the
global marketplace. Thomas Friedman, author of the best-selling book The World Is Flat: A Brief
History of the Twenty-First Century, says today’s highly competitive and global marketplace is flattening
the world of international business. In order to compete with China, India, and other dynamic
economics, U.S.-based companies must adopt a more aggressive global focus.4
Cultural Issues
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Today’s global marketplace reflects a kaleidoscope of cultures, each with its own unique qualities.
is the sum total of beliefs, values, knowledge, ethnic customs, and objects that people use to
adapt to their environment. Cultural barriers can impede acceptance of products in foreign countries and
weaken interpersonal relationships. When the salesperson understands the cultural background of the
foreign customer, communication problems are less likely. Many people from Asia, Arab countries, and
much of Africa prefer a more indirect style of communication and therefore value harmony, subtlety,
sensitivity, and tact more than brevity.5 The customer who seems to be agreeing with everything you say
may have no intention of buying your product. This person may simply be displaying polite and tactful
Perceptions of time differ from country to country. Americans value promptness, but businesspeople
from other countries often approach meetings in a more relaxed manner. Arriving late for a meeting may
not be viewed as a problem. Many companies are spending thousands
of dollars to make sure that employees sent abroad are culturally prepared. Eastman Chemical Company,
for example, has developed a highly successful orientation program for employees who have accepted
overseas assignments.6
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Global Business Insight Doing Business in China
Source: alexsalo images/ Shutterstock
China has entered the World Trade Organization, and its leaders have promised to tear down the
barriers that have frustrated foreign business representatives for so long. This country provides a
huge market for foreign brands. However, doing business in China begins with a careful study of
Chinese business customs.
Patience is critical when doing business in China. Avoid taking the initiative until you fully
understand the rules.
Business entertaining is frequently done banquet style. If you host a banquet, plan your menu
carefully because foods have different meanings. You will be in complete control and no one
will eat or drink until you give the signal. Toasting is a ritual in China.
Chinese businesspeople do not make deals quickly. They prefer to spend time building
relationships that will last for years. Harmony is important.
When making introductions, the oldest and highest-ranking person is introduced first.
Chinese bow slightly when greeting another person and the handshake follows.
Gift giving is a complex process in China. Gifts should be given after all business
transactions have been completed. Avoid gifts that suggest death in the Chinese culture:
clocks, knife openers, and handkerchiefs, for example.a
Legal Issues
Doing business in the global marketplace continues to be an ethical minefield. Illegal demands for
bribes, kickbacks, or special fees may stand in the way of successful transactions. The Foreign Corrupt
Practices Act prohibits U.S. companies from using bribes or kickbacks to influence foreign officials. The
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new U.K. Anti-Bribery Act prohibits any kind of commercial bribery. Prosecution is aggressive and
penalties are severe, ranging from multimillion-dollar fines for companies and jail time for individuals.
But monitoring illegal activities throughout the world is a very difficult task.7 Motorola and some other
U.S. businesses are using software to analyze invoices and payments in order to uncover possible
payoffs. Gifts from suppliers to U.S. companies can also be a problem. Each year, United Technologies
sends a letter to foreign suppliers saying “we don’t want gifts.”8
American businesses acknowledge that it is difficult to compete with organizations from other countries
that are not bound by these laws. However, the International Business Ethics Institute (www.business-
ethics.org) believes that U.S. companies have been a very positive role model for the rest of the business
Influence of Senior Management
Ethical standards tend to filter down from the top of an organization. Employees look to company
leaders for guidance. The organization’s moral tone, as established by management personnel, is the
most important single determinant of employee ethics. At Best Buy, Richard Schulze, founder and
chairman, is the person who must put ethics concerns on the front burner and make sure that employees
stay focused on that priority. The most influential ethics spokesman at Timberland is CEO Jeffrey
Swartz, a third-generation CEO whose grandfather founded the company. With pride, he points out
Timberland’s slogan: “Boots, Brand, Belief.”9
In recent years, top management has often been guided by advice from professional service firms such
as McKinsey & Company, Arthur Andersen, and Merrill Lynch and Company. Too often these firms are
recommending strategies that result in quick, short-term gains. Alan M.
Webber, who has been studying professional service firms for 20 years, notes, “They want the money
right now.” He says, “. . . to make the most money, you actually have to believe in the product or service
you offer and care for the customers or clients whom you serve.”10
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The most influential ethics spokesman at Timberland is CEO Jeffrey Swartz, a third-generation CEO
whose grandfather founded the company. With pride, he points out Timberland’s slogan: “Boots, Brand,
Source: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy
Influence of Company Policies and Practices
Company policies and practices can have a major impact on the ethical conduct of salespeople. Many
employees do not have well-developed moral sensitivity and, therefore, need the guidance of ethics
policies. These policies should cover distributor relations, customer service, pricing, product
development, and related areas.11
Developing policy statements forces a firm to “take a stand” on various business practices.
Distinguishing right from wrong can be a healthy activity for any organization. The outcome is a more
clear-cut philosophy of how to conduct business transactions. Furthermore, the efforts of salespeople can
be compromised by the unethical actions of their companies. Selling products for a company that
condones unethical practices is very difficult for the salesperson who maintains high ethical standards.12
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Social Media and Selling Today Ethical Social
Are you an active social networker? A recent study was conducted by the Ethics Resource
Center that provided some important results with implications for salespeople. Do you spend
more than 30 percent of your time on social network sites? Then be careful, since a recent study
has shown that active social networkers see many of those activities that other people find
unethical as acceptable behaviors. For example this study shows that 59 percent of active social
networkers believe that “friending” a client/customer on a social network is acceptable, while
only 28 percent of other U.S. workers see it as an acceptable behavior. Forty-two percent of
active social networkers believe that tweeting or blogging negatively about your company or
colleagues is also acceptable, while only 6 percent of others believe so. This divide between
active social networkers and others is crucial because if your client is from the other group, then
what you think is acceptable, such as “friending” your customer on facebook, might come across
to your client as unprofessional.13
Another extremely important aspect of today’s social media comes from the fact that what you
post on these media can quickly go viral. For example tweeting about how you used your sales
savvy to close a deal can easily spread and reach your customer/other customers and project the
wrong image of you and your company as people with self-interest and little customer focus.
Companies these days are very cautious about the kind of messages that spread out from the
inside and make sure that everything is consistent with their overall corporate image.
Mutual of Omaha executives provide their employees with a carefully worded document titled “Values
for Success.” Several of these values form the foundation for a corporate culture that encourages ethical
Openness and Trust We encourage an open sharing of ideas and information, displaying a
fundamental respect for each other as well as our cultural diversity.
Honesty and Integrity We are honest and ethical with others, maintaining the highest standards of
personal and professional conduct.
Customer-Focus We never lose sight of our customers, and constantly challenge ourselves to meet
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their requirements even better.
Most marketing companies provide salespeople with guidelines in such areas as sharing confidential
information, reciprocity, bribery, gift giving, entertainment, interacting with competitors, and business
Sharing Confidential Information
Personal selling, by its very nature, promotes close working relationships. Customers often turn to
salespeople for advice. They disclose confidential information freely to someone they trust. It is
important that salespeople preserve the confidentiality of the information they receive.
Personal selling, by its nature, promotes close working relationships. It is important that salespeople
preserve the confidentiality of information they receive. Violation of this ethical responsibility will
quickly erode a relationship with the customer.
Source: Jeanette Dietl/ Fotolia
It is not unusual for a customer to disclose information that may be of great value to a competitor. This
might include the development of new products, plans to expand into new markets, or anticipated
changes in personnel. A salesperson may be tempted to share confidential information with a
representative of a competing firm. This breach of confidence might be seen as a means of gaining favor.
In most cases, this action backfires and can violate contractual or legal obligations. The person who
receives the confidential information quickly loses respect for the salesperson. A gossipy salesperson
seldom develops a trusting relationship with a customer.
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is a mutual exchange of benefits, as when a firm buys products from its own customers.
Some business firms actually maintain a policy of reciprocity. For example, the manufacturer of
commercial sheets and blankets may purchase hotel services from firms that use its products.
Is there anything wrong with the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” approach to doing
business? The answer is sometimes yes. In some cases, the use of reciprocity borders on commercial
blackmail. Salespeople have been known to approach firms that supply their company and encourage
them to buy out of obligation. Reciprocity agreements are illegal when one company pressures another
company to join in the agreement.
A business relationship based on reciprocity has other drawbacks. There is the ever-present temptation to
take such customers for granted. A customer who buys out of obligation may take a backseat to
customers who were won in the open market.
The book Arrogance and Accords: The Inside Story of the Honda Scandal describes one of the largest
commercial corruption cases in U.S. history. Over a 15-year period, Honda officials received more than
$50 million in cash and gifts from dealers eager to obtain fast-selling Honda cars and profitable
franchises. Eighteen former Honda executives were convicted of obtaining kickbacks; most went to
In most cases, a bribe is wrong from a legal standpoint. In almost all cases, the bribe is wrong from an
ethical point of view. However, bribery does exist, and a salesperson must be prepared to cope with it. It
helps to have a well-established company policy to use as a reference point for what is not acceptable.16
Salespeople who sell products in foreign markets need to know that giving bribes is viewed as an
acceptable business practice in some cultures. However, bribes or payoffs may violate the U.S. Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other antibribery laws. Lucent Technologies Incorporated dismissed
two high-ranking executives in China after it found potential violations of the FCPA.17
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Gift Giving
Gift giving is a common practice in America. However, some companies do maintain a “no gift” policy.
Many companies report that their policy is either no gifts or nothing of real value. Some gifts, such as
advertising novelties, planning calendars, or a meal, are of limited value and cannot be construed as a
bribe or payoff.
There are some gray areas that separate a gift from a bribe. Most people agree that a token of
insignificant price, such as a pen imprinted with a company logo or a desk calendar, is appropriate.
These types of gifts are meant to foster goodwill. A bribe, on the other hand, is an attempt to influence
the person receiving the gift.
Are there right and wrong ways to handle gift giving? The answer is yes. The following guidelines are
helpful to any salesperson who is considering giving gifts to customers:
1. Do not give gifts before doing business with a customer. Do not use the gift as a substitute for
effective selling methods.
2. Never convey the impression you are “buying” the customer’s business with gifts. When this
happens, the gift becomes nothing more than a bribe.
3. When gift giving is done correctly, the customer clearly views it as symbolic of your
appreciation—a “no strings attached” goodwill gesture.
4. Be sure the gift is not a violation of the policies of your firm or of your customer’s firm. Some
firms do not allow employees to accept gifts at all. Other firms place a dollar limit on a gift’s
In summary, if you have second thoughts about giving a gift, do not do it. When you are sure some token
is appropriate, keep it simple and thoughtful.
Entertainment is a widespread practice in the field of selling and may be viewed as a bribe by some
people. The line dividing gifts, bribes, and entertainment is often quite arbitrary.
Salespeople must frequently decide how to handle entertaining. A few industries see entertainment as
part of the approach used to obtain new accounts. This is especially true when competing products are
nearly identical. A good example is the cardboard box industry. These products vary little in price and
quality. Winning an account may involve knowing who to entertain and how to entertain.
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Entertainment is a highly individualized process. One prospect might enjoy a professional football game,
while another would be impressed most by a quiet meal at a good restaurant. The key is to get to know
your prospect’s preferences. How does the person spend leisure time? How much time can the person
spare for entertainment? You need to answer these and other questions before you invest time and
money in entertainment.
Business Defamation
Salespeople frequently compare their product’s qualities and characteristics with those of a competitor
during the sales presentation. If such comparisons
are inaccurate, misleading, or slander a company’s business reputation, such conduct is illegal.
Competitors have sued hundreds of companies and manufacturers’ representatives for making
slanderous statements while selling.
What constitutes business defamation? Steven M. Sack, coauthor of The Salesperson’s Legal Guide,
provides the following examples:
1. Business slander. This arises when an unfair and untrue oral statement is made about a
competitor. The statement becomes actionable when it is communicated to a third party and can
be interpreted as damaging the competitor’s business reputation or the personal reputation of an
individual in that business.
2. Business libel. This may be incurred when an unfair and untrue statement is made about a
competitor in writing. The statement becomes actionable when it is communicated to a third
party and can be interpreted as damaging the company.
3. Product disparagement. This occurs when false or deceptive comparisons or distorted claims
are made concerning a competitor’s product, services, or property.18
Use of The Internet
Use of the Internet offers salespeople many advantages, but it can also create a number of ethical
dilemmas. For example, e-mail abuse has become a modern-day problem because some employees
forget that their employer owns the e-mail system. E-mail messages that contain inflammatory or
abusive content, inappropriate jokes, embarrassing gossip, or breaches of confidentiality can lead to
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legal liabilities. A growing number of companies are developing policies that define permissible uses of
their e-mail system.19
Some resourceful salespeople have created their own websites to alert, attract, or support clients. The
rise of these “extranets” has created some problems because they often function outside of the
company’s jurisdiction. What should top management do if a top salesperson encourages her customers
to participate in a special Web auction for a backlogged product? What if the salesperson makes
exaggerated claims about a new product? Every marketing firm needs to carefully monitor the
development and use of extranets.20
The effectiveness of company policies as a deterrent to unethical behavior depends on two factors. The
first is the firm’s attitude toward employees who violate these policies. If violations are routinely
ignored, the policy’s effect soon erodes. Second, policies that influence personal selling need the support
of the entire sales staff. Salespeople should have some voice in policy decisions; they are more apt to
support policies they have helped develop.
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Ethical and Legal Issues with Recording CRM
Customer relationship management systems enable you to collect information about people with
whom you maintain relationships, including the taking of notes. It is a good practice to record
more than basic transaction information, such as personal details about your customers.
Reviewing your observations about the customers’ behavior and your recording of their
statements can help you understand them and their needs. Rereading their comments about
ethical issues can assist you in assessing the value of maintaining a business relationship with
To be fair, it is important to record only the facts concerning your observations, not necessarily
your conclusions, especially if negative. Information in an electronic database can last a long
time and, for reasons such as litigation or company acquisitions, can be “mobile.” This means
that others may form an opinion about your customer based on your recorded conclusions, with
potential detrimental consequences for your customer. Because the customer may not be aware
of the existence of the information in your database, that person does not have a fair opportunity
to correct any erroneous conclusions. Another reason to carefully record only the facts is the
possibility that any inappropriate information may come to the attention of the customer. For
example, there are reported instances in which a customer later joined the sales organization and
gained access to the customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Most CRM systems contain scheduling functions, which means that you can set aside time on
your calendar to attend meetings, make phone calls, and perform tasks. The scheduling tools
usually include alarms, which remind you that a deadline is approaching. The disciplined use of
these features can help you get your work accomplished on time. Taking advantage of the
system’s reminder tools can be especially important when it involves fulfilling your
commitments. The system can help you build trust by reminding you to always do what you said
you would do.
Influence of the Sales Manager
The salesperson’s actions often mirror the sales manager’s behavior and expectations. This is not
surprising when you consider the relationship between salespeople and their supervisors. They look to
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their supervisors for guidance and direction. The sales manager is generally the company’s closest point
of contact with the sales staff. This person is usually viewed as the chief spokesperson for top
Sales managers generally provide new salespeople with their first orientation to company operations.
They are responsible for interpreting company policy. On a continuing basis, the sales manager monitors
the salesperson’s work and provides important feedback concerning conduct. If a salesperson violates
company policy, it is usually the sales manager who is responsible for administering reprimands. If the
moral fiber of a sales force begins to break down, the sales manager must shoulder a great deal of
responsibility, even if it goes against “standard practice.”21
Sales managers influence the ethical behavior of salespeople by virtue of what they say and what they
do. From time to time, managers must review their expectations of ethical behavior. Salespeople are
under continuous pressure to abandon their personal ethical standards to achieve sales goals. Values such
as integrity and honesty must receive ongoing support from the sales manager. The role of the sales
manager will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 17
Influence of the Salesperson’s Personal Values
Ann Kilpatrick, a sales representative in the transportation industry, encountered an unexpected
experience when entertaining a potential client. The client said, “Let’s go to Johnny’s.” She was not
familiar with Johnny’s, but on arrival discovered it was a raunchy bar. Kilpatrick related that she sat
there for five minutes and then said, “This is not what I was expecting. This is a sleazy place. Let’s go
somewhere else where we can talk.” She was not willing to compromise her personal values to win a
new account.22
represent the ultimate reasons people have for acting as they do. Values are your deep
personal beliefs and preferences that influence your behavior. To discover what really motivates you,
carefully examine what you value.23 Values serve as a foundation for our attitudes, and our attitudes
serve as a foundation for our behavior (Figure 3.4 ). Destructive attitudes can result in unethical
behaviors, where constructive attitudes generally create ethical behaviors. We do not adopt or discard
values quickly. In fact, the development and refinement of values is a lifelong process.
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Values represent the ultimate reasons salespeople have for acting as they do. Values serve as a
foundation for either constructive or destructive attitudes, and these attitudes serve as a foundation for
ethical or unethical behavior.
Customers have a very negative view of salespeople who lack integrity. Yet, the temptation to lie about a
product’s features or benefits grows when you are trying to meet sales quotas. John Craig, a pharmacist
at Hancock Drugs in Scottsburg, Indiana, describes a meeting with a pushy sales representative
employed by a pharmaceutical company. The salesperson emphasized the wonders of a powerful,
expensive painkiller but failed to describe its side effects. Craig said, “He was very pushy at the
beginning,” and this behavior revealed a character flaw.24
Values Conflict
Values help us establish our own personal standards concerning what is right and what is wrong. Ron
Willingham, author of Integrity Selling for the 21st Century, says, “Selling success is more an issue of
who you are than what you know.”25 A salesperson’s ethics and values contribute more to sales success
than do techniques or strategies. Some salespeople discover a values conflict between themselves and
their employer. If you view your employer’s instructions or influence as improper, you have three
1. Ignore the influence of your values and engage in the unethical behavior. However, even with
success, inattention to values will result in a loss of self-respect and feelings of guilt and in
some circumstances legal liability.26 When salespeople experience conflicts between their
actions and values, they also feel a loss of confidence and energy.27 Positive energy is the result
of creating value for the customer. Negative energy is experienced when salespeople fail to
honor and embrace their ethical values.
Voice strong opposition to the practice that is in conflict with your values system. Take a stand
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and state your beliefs. When ethical infractions occur, it’s best to bring them up internally and
try to influence decisions made by your peers or superiors. In some cases, doing the right thing
may not be popular with others. Price Pritchett, the author of The Ethics of Excellence, says,
“Not everybody will be on your side in your struggle to do the right thing.”28 However, more
and more companies are celebrating employees who come forward to identify questionable
3. Refuse to compromise your values and be prepared to deal with the consequences. This may
mean leaving the job. It also may mean that you will be fired.
Salespeople face ethical problems and decisions every day. In this respect, they are no different from the
doctor, the lawyer, the teacher, or any other professional. Ideally, they make decisions on the basis of the
values they hold.29
Influence of Laws, Contracts, and Agreements
Take another look at Figure 3.3
(page 51) and you will notice that all of the key elements, personnel,
and policies are influenced by laws, contracts, and agreements. Everyone involved in sales and
marketing is guided by legal as well as ethical standards. We live in a society in which the legal system
plays a key role in preventing people from engaging in unethical behavior.
The specific obligations imposed by government on the way business operates take the form of
“statutes,” laws passed by Congress or state legislatures. Some of the most common laws deal with price
competition, credit reporting, debt collection practices, contract enforcement, and land sales disclosure.
The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is a major law influencing sales throughout the United States.
The UCC is a legal guide to a wide range of transactions between the seller and the buyer. This law has
been adopted throughout the United States.
Several areas featured in the UCC focus directly on the seller–buyer relationship. Some of the primary
areas follow:
1. Definition of a sale. The code defines the legal dimensions of a sale. It clearly states that
salespeople have the authority to legally obligate the company they represent.
2. Warranties and guarantees. The code distinguishes between express warranties and implied
warranties. Express warranties are those that are described by the express language of the seller.
Implied warranties are the obligations imposed by law on the seller that are not assumed in
express language.
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3. Salesperson and reseller. In many cases, the salesperson has resellers as customers or
prospects. Salespeople must be aware of their employer’s obligations to the reseller.
4. Financing of sales. Often salespeople work for firms that are directly involved in financing
products or services or in arranging such financing from outside sources. A salesperson needs to
be familiar with the legal aspects of these credit arrangements.
5. Product consignment. In some cases, goods are delivered to the buyer, but the title remains
with the seller. This type of transaction can become complicated if the goods have a limited life
span. Depreciation may occur with the passing of time. Salespeople should be familiar with the
company’s rights in cases in which goods are sold on consignment.
A majority of the states have passed legislation that establishes a cooling-off period during which the
consumer may void a contract to purchase goods or services. Although the provisions of
cooling-off laws
vary from state to state, their primary purpose is to give customers an opportunity to
reconsider a buying decision made under a salesperson’s persuasive influence. Many laws are designed
to deal specifically with sales made in the consumer’s home. For example, the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) established the National Do Not Call Registry in an attempt to reduce the number of
telemarketing calls.
Contracts and Agreements
The word “contract” may bring to mind the familiar, multipage, single-spaced documents that no
ordinary person seems able to understand. In fact, contracts can be oral or written. A contract
simply a promise or promises that the courts will enforce. Oral contracts are enforceable, but written
contracts are preferable. They reduce the possibility of disagreement and the courts give them great
weight in a lawsuit. A written contract can consist of a sales slip, a notation on a check, or any other
writing that evidences the promises that the parties made.30
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This code of ethics serves as a foundation for the members of the American Marketing Association
Source: American Marketing Association Code of Ethics. Used by permission of American Marketing Association.
Salespeople are sometimes the legal representatives of their company and, therefore, must be careful
when signing written contracts. They often oversee contracts with customers, suppliers, and resellers.
Salespeople also frequently sign employment contracts at the time they are hired. Most of these
agreements include a noncompete clause. One of the most common clauses, a noncompete clause
prohibits salespeople from joining a competing firm for a period of time after they leave. Most clauses
are legally binding even when an employee’s position is cut. Employers see employment contracts as an
effective way to protect intellectual property, customer lists, and other resources an employee might take
to a competing firm.31
Many companies are learning that resolving legal disputes can be very costly and time consuming.
Resolving a dispute in the courts can sometimes take several years. A serious effort to prevent unethical
activities can prevent costly litigation.
Building Trust with the Transactional, Consultative and Strategic Alliance
Everyone involved in personal selling must work hard to build relationships based on trust. Customers
are more apt to trust salespeople they believe to be ethical, leading to a much more productive
partnership.32 Although trust is an essential element of every sale, the meaning of trust changes with the
type of sale.33
Trust in transactional sales. The primary customer focus in this type of sale is trust in the product.
Is the product reliable? Is the product priced as low as possible? Can the product be delivered in a
timely fashion? The transactional buyer may purchase a product from a salesperson they do not feel
totally comfortable with if it meets their purchase criteria.
Trust in consultative sales. In a consultative sale, the customer focus shifts from the product to the
person who sells the product. The consultative buyer is thinking, “Can I trust this salesperson to
identify my problem and offer me one or more solutions?” Customers involved in a consultative sale
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usually do not separate the product from the person selling it. They want to do business with a
salesperson who displays such positive qualities as warmth, empathy, genuineness, competence, and
Trust in strategic alliance sales. The strategic alliance buyer wants to do business with an
institution that can be trusted. This buyer looks beyond the well-qualified salesperson and assesses
the entire organization. A strategic alliance customer will not feel comfortable partnering with a
company whose values differ greatly from his or her own. Ethical accountability will greatly
influence the way an alliance partner is judged and valued.
Trust exists when we strongly believe in the integrity, ability, and character of a person or an
organization. Although trust is an intangible, it is at the very core of all meaningful relationships. Trust is
quickly lost and slowly won.34
Character strength builds as we display loyalty, mutual commitment, and the pursuit of long-term goals.
These are the qualities needed to build strong buyer–seller relationships.
Making Ethical Decisions That Build Selling Relationships
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Describe how ethical decisions influence the building of partnering relationships
in selling
Business ethics
comprise principles and standards that guide behavior in the world of business. They
help translate values into appropriate and effective foundational behaviors that build and strengthen
partnering relationships in day-to-day life. Whether a specific behavior is right or wrong, ethical or
unethical, is often determined by company leaders, customers, investors, the legal system, and the
community.35 Of course, the views of various stakeholders may be in conflict. As noted in the examples
cited, kickbacks and secret payoffs may be acceptable practices to the vice president of sales and
marketing or a supplier, yet may be viewed as unethical by the customer, members of the sales force, the
board of directors, investors, and the general public.
There is no one uniform code of ethics for all salespeople as societal and relational norms can vary from
person to person.36 However, a large number of business organizations, professional associations (see
Figure 3.5 ), and certification agencies have established written codes. For example, the National
Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) states that members must abide by its Standards of
Professional Conduct.37
Influence of Character in Ethical Decision Making
Today, we recognize that character and integrity strongly influence building partnering relationships in
personal selling. Character
is composed of personal standards, including honesty, integrity, and
moral strength. Your character is based on your internal values and the resulting judgments you make
about what is right and what is wrong. The ethical decisions you make reflect your character strength. It
is a quality that is highly respected in the field of personal selling.
is the basic ingredient of character that is exhibited when you achieve congruence between
what you know, what you say, and what you do.38 In a world of uncertainty and rapid change, integrity
has become a valuable character trait. Salespeople with integrity can be trusted to do what they say they
will do. One way to achieve trustworthiness in personal selling is to refrain from deceiving or
misleading the customer.
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We are indebted to Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, for helping us
better understand the relationship between character strength and success in personal selling. In his
best-selling book, Covey says that there are basic principles that must be integrated into our character.
One example is to always do what you say you are going to do. “As we make and keep commitments,
even small commitments, we begin to establish an inner integrity that gives us the awareness of
self-control and courage and strength to accept more of the responsibility for our own lives.”39 Fulfilling
your commitments builds trust, and trust is the most important precondition of partnering relationships
that create value.
Colleges and universities are beginning to play a more active role in character development. Courses that
focus on ethics are becoming quite common. When a new ethics course was developed at the University
of Virginia, the faculty indicated that the purpose of the course is not to point out what is right and what
is wrong. The course is designed to help students understand the consequences of their actions when
they face an ethical dilemma.40
The Erosion of Character on Ethical Decision Making
Despite a growing interest in business ethics, unethical behavior has become all too common. A survey
conducted by Newsweek suggests that the current generation of workers may be more tolerant of
deception. Many of those involved in the survey did not view lying and cheating as unacceptable.41
Employees who are involved in unethical behavior often report that they were under pressure to act
unethically or illegally on the job.
As the past decade unfolded, many large, inflexible corporations were transformed into smaller, more
nimble competitors. New economy thinking prevailed as business firms, large and small, worked hard to
become lean, innovative, and profitable. We witnessed an almost unrelenting emphasis on earnings that
was driven, in some cases, by executive greed. It was during this period that some of America’s most
respected companies began to cross the ethical divide.42
A company cannot build partnering relationships and enjoy long-term success unless its employees are
honest, ethical, and uncompromising about values and principles. Yet many employees engage in
dishonest practices that erode character. The collapse of Lehman Bros., one
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of the largest U.S. corporations ever to file for bankruptcy, can be traced to a culture that emphasized
risk taking, personal ambition over teamwork, and earnings growth at any cost. The new economy
depends on innovation and aggressive development of markets, but actions that weaken the moral
contract with customers, employees, and shareholders can bring serious consequences. Let’s examine
some “half-truths” that have influenced the erosion of character in ethical decision making.
We are in it only for ourselves. Some critics of today’s moral climate feel that the current moral
decline began when society’s focus shifted from “what is right” to “what is right for me.” In personal
selling, this point of view can quickly subtract rather than add value to a relationship with the
customer. Fortunately, there are many salespeople for whom integrity and self-respect are basic
values. Darryl Ashley, a pharmaceutical representative for Eli Lilly Company, suspected that a
pharmacist (a customer) was diluting chemotherapy drugs in order to increase profit margins. Ashley
shared his suspicions with one of the cancer doctors who was purchasing the drug from the
pharmacist. Tests indicated that the drug had been diluted.43
Corporations exist to maximize shareholder value. In the past, corporations were more often
viewed as economic and social institutions—organizations that served a balanced group of
stakeholders. In recent years, analysts, stock traders, CEOs, and the media have too often focused on
a single standard of performance—share price.44 Marjorie Kelly, former editor of Business Ethics,
says, “Managing a company solely for maximum share price can destroy both share price and the
entire company.”45
Pressure to increase “numbers” led to sales abuses at WorldCom Incorporated. Some salespeople
double-booked accounts in order to make their quota and collect increased commissions. The false
reporting was identified by an internal company probe and the guilty sales representatives were fired.46
It’s not wrong because everyone is doing it. Shoshana Zuboff, contributing columnist for Fast
Company magazine, sees widespread acceptance of wrong as normal. She points to acceptance in
some industries of the belief that “It’s not wrong because everyone is doing it.”47 Employees
working for prominent companies such as Merck, WorldCom, Putman Investments, Tyco, and
Edward D. Jones & Company have been involved in ethical lapses.48 Most white-collar crime is
committed by persons who lack character and integrity, or who had a momentary but disastrous lapse
in judgment.
Companies need to be lean and mean.49 Downsizing has become a common practice even when
the economy is strong. After the layoffs, companies must deal with serious problems of low morale
and mistrust of management. Those employees who remain after a company reduces its ranks often
feel demoralized, overworked, and fearful. The stress of long hours and a faster pace can result in
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quality losses and bad service that alienate customers. Richard Sennett, author of The Corrosion of
Character, says that the decline of character strength can be traced to conditions that have grown out
of our fast-paced, high-stress, information-driven economy. He states that character strength builds
in a climate that encourages loyalty, mutual commitment, and the pursuit of long-term goals.50
These are the ethical qualities needed to build a foundation for strong partnering style interactions
that create value.
Today, many business firms are struggling to align their values, ethics, and principles with the
expectations of their salespeople and their customers. The process of negotiating ethical standards and
practices must be ongoing. Citigroup Incorporated, one of the world’s largest financial services firm, is
working hard to move beyond regulatory scandals. Charles Prince, Citigroup CEO, wants the company
to better balance its “delivering-the-numbers” culture with a long-term attention to reputation. He readily
admits that “at times, our actions have put at risk our most precious commodity—the trust of our clients,
the patience of our employees, and the faith of our shareholders.”51
Can moral behavior be taught? The National Business Ethics Survey, conducted annually by the Ethics
Resource Center ([no longer online] www.ethics.org), found that 90 percent of employees said that
ethics training is useful or somewhat useful to them. A growing number of students are completing
business ethics courses as part of their undergraduate or graduate programs.52
Developing a Personal Code of Ethics That Adds Value
Discuss guidelines for developing a personal code of ethics that creates value
Too often people confuse their ethical standards with legal standards. They believe that if you are not
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breaking the law, then you are acting in an ethical manner.53 A salesperson’s personal code of ethics
must extend beyond the legal definition of what is right and wrong. To view ethics only in terms of what
is legally proper encourages the question, “What can I get by with?” A salesperson must develop a
personal code of ethics that extends beyond the letter of the law.
Selling in Action When the Competition Uses
Negative Practices
Negative selling practices create two problems for companies with integrity. First, the
salesperson must use valuable time correcting misinformation presented by the competition.
Second, a sale may be delayed until the customer rejects the untruth. Jim Galtan, director of sales
for Schick Technologies, Inc., the leading manufacturer of digital dental X-ray technology, often
learns that the competition has said something negative about his product. When this happens, he
looks the customer in the eye and says, “Having the best product often frustrates our
competition.” He also tells customers that if the competition is honest in their assessment, they
should be willing to prepare a letter outlining their concerns. Galtan says documentation is the
easiest way to cope with negative selling because no one’s going to document untruth.b
Bruce Weinstein, a professional ethicist who is often introduced as “The Ethics Guy,” offers sound
advice on living an ethical life. He says we should do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing
to do. The only way you can build a loyal and growing client base is to demonstrate that you have the
customers’ own best interests at heart. You are trying to make things better for them. “Here is where
ethics differs from the law. It demands more of us,” says Weinstein.54
Many people considering a career in selling are troubled by the thought that they may be pressured into
compromising their personal standards of right and wrong. These fears may be justified. The authors of
The Ethical Edge, a book that examines organizations that have faced moral crises, contend that business
firms have given too little thought to the issue of helping employees to function ethically within
organizations.55 Many salespeople wonder whether their own ethical philosophy can survive in the
business world. These are some of their questions:
“Can a profitable business and good ethics coexist?”
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“Are there still business firms that value adherence to high ethical standards?”
“Is honesty still a valued personal trait in the business community?”
In the field of athletic competition, the participants rely heavily on a written set of rules. The referee or
umpire is ever present to detect rule violations and assess a penalty. In the field of personal selling, there
is no universal code of ethics. However, some general guidelines can serve as a foundation for a personal
code of business ethics.
1. Relationship comes first, task second. Sharon Drew Morgan, author of Selling with Integrity,
says that you can’t sell a product unless there is a level of comfort between you and the
prospect. She encourages salespeople to take the time to create a level of comfort, rapport, and
collaboration that encourages open communication.56 Placing task before relationship is based
on the belief that the salesperson knows more than the customer. Morgan reminds us, “The
buyer has the answers, and the seller has the questions.”57 These answers surface only when the
buyer–seller relationship is characterized by rapport and trust.
2. Be honest with yourself and with others. To achieve excellence in terms of ethical practices,
you have to believe that everything you do counts. Tom Peters in Thriving on Chaos said,
“Integrity may be about little things as much as or more than big ones.”58 Integrity is about
accuracy in completing your expense account. There is always the temptation to inflate the
expense report for personal gain. Integrity is also about avoiding the temptation to stretch the
truth, to exaggerate, or to withhold information. Paul Ekman, author of Telling Lies, says that
withholding important information is one of the primary ways of lying.59 A complete and
informative sales presentation may include information concerning the product’s
limitations. If you let your character and integrity be revealed in the little things, others can see
you as one who acts ethically in all things. Any violation of honesty, however small, dilutes
your ethical strength, leaving you weaker for the big challenges you will face sooner or later.60
3. Personal selling must be viewed as an exchange of value. Salespeople who maintain a value
focus are searching for ways to create value for their prospects or customers. This value may
take the form of increased productivity, greater profit, enjoyment, or security. The value focus
motivates the salesperson to carefully identify the prospects’ wants and needs.61 Salespeople
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who accept this ethical guideline view personal selling as something you do for customers, not
something you do to customers. The role of the salesperson is to diagnose buyer needs and
determine whether value can be created. Always be prepared to add value.
Personal selling must be viewed as an exchange of value. Salespeople who accept this ethical guideline
view personal selling as something you do for customers, not something you do to customers.
Source: Kablonk/SuperStock.
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Chapter Learning Activities
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Reviewing Key Concepts
Explain the importance of developing a relationship strategy
The manner in which salespeople establish, build, and maintain relationships is a
major key to success in personal selling. Emotional intelligence, defined as the
capacity for monitoring our own feelings and those of others, for motivating
ourselves, and managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships, is
critical to the development of a successful selling relationship strategy.
Describe issues that challenge the ethical decision making of
A selling career, more than most other careers, is frequently subjected to
situations that provide short-term gain, resulting in the long-term erosion of
integrity and destruction of relationships. Various stakeholders to a sale make
requests and offers that are unethical and, in a number of situations, illegal.
Salespeople are repeatedly challenged to make ethical decisions. Ethics,
therefore, forms the foundation for partnering relationships upon which
relationships, product, customer, and presentation strategies exist.
In the field of personal selling, the temptation to maximize short-term gains by
some type of unethical conduct is always present and occurs more often than in
most other careers. Salespeople are especially vulnerable to unethical decision
making, because they are subject to many temptations. These temptations are
often motivated by offers from clients, competitors, company personnel and
suppliers, and may involve personal gain on the part of the salesperson. While
attractive to one or more of the stakeholders associated with the sale in the short
run, they serve as the basis for the destruction of long-term, trusted, partnering
relationship strategies and product, customer, and presentation strategies.
Describe the factors that influence the ethical conduct of sales
At the international level, ethical and legal issues can be very complex. The
global marketplace reflects a great number of cultures, each with its unique
qualities. Coping with illegal activities throughout the world is also very
challenging. Illegal demands for bribes, kickbacks, or special fees can serve as a
barrier to business transactions.
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Salespeople can benefit from the stabilizing influence of good role models.
Although top management personnel are usually far removed from day-to-day
selling activities, they can have a major impact on salespeople’s conduct.
Dishonesty at the top of an organization can cause an erosion of ethical standards
at the lower echelons. Sales managers provide another important role model.
They interpret company policies and help establish guidelines for acceptable and
unacceptable selling practices.
Describe how ethical decisions influence the building of
partnering relationships in selling
Character and integrity strongly influence relationships in personal selling.
Unethical sales practices will ultimately destroy relationships with customers.
These practices undermine trust, which is at the very core of all meaningful
Many colleges and universities are playing a more active role in character
development. Character education is often integrated into courses that focus on
ethics. Character is composed of personal standards of behavior, so all of us can
do things that build character. Keeping our commitments to others provides just
one example of how character is built.
Discuss guidelines for developing a personal code of ethics
that creates value
Salespeople must establish their own standards of personal conduct. They must
decide how best to serve their company and build strong partnerships with their
customers. The pressure to compromise one’s ethical standards surfaces almost
daily. The primary deterrent is a strong sense of right and wrong. Three general
guidelines can serve as a foundation for a personal code of ethics:
a. Relationship comes first; task, second.
b. Be honest with yourself and with others.
c. Personal selling must be viewed as an exchange of value.
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Key Terms
Emotional intelligence, p.
Culture, p. 51
Reciprocity, p.
Values, p.
Cooling-off laws, p.
Contract, p.
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Business ethics, p.
Character, p.
Integrity, p.
Go to mymktlab.com to complete the problems marked with this icon  .
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Review Questions
3-1 List the three prescriptions that serve as the foundation for
development of a relationship strategy.
3-2 How does business slander differ from business libel?
3-3 What major factors help influence salespeople’s ethical conduct?
3-4 What is the Uniform Commercial Code? Why is it needed?
3-5 Why must a salesperson’s ethical sense extend beyond the legal
definition of what is right and wrong?
3-6 Explain why the sales manager plays such an important role in
influencing the ethical behavior of salespeople.
3-7 A company policy on ethics should cover several major areas. What
are they?
3-8 List and describe three guidelines used as a foundation of a
self-imposed code of business ethics.
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4 Creating Value with a Relationship Strategy
Source: Michael Ahearne
Learning Objectives
When you finish reading this chapter, you should be able to
1 Explain how partnering relationships add value
2 Discuss how thought processes can enhance your relationship strategy
3 Identify and describe the major nonverbal factors that shape our sales image
4 Describe conversational strategies that help us establish relationships
5 Explain how to establish a self-improvement plan based on personal development strategies
Improve Your Grade!
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Over 10 million students improved their results using the Pearson MyLabs.  Visit mymktlab.com for
simulations, tutorials, and end-of-chapter problems.
Reality Selling Video—Susana Rosas/CB
Richard Ellis
Susana Rosas, a real estate broker at CB Richard Ellis ([no longer online] www.cbre.com/usa
/us/tx/houston+galleria), places a great deal of emphasis on building rapport during the first
contact. She, like most other real estate professionals, knows that rapport with commercial real
estate clients is of critical importance. She knows that to build relationships with clients, a good
knowledge of the market is necessary but not sufficient. She has to master a multitude of skills,
among which keeping an open and empathetic conversation style with her clients is the key;
above all, listening closely to everything that prospects say helps a salesperson to accurately
identify their wants and needs. Furthermore, she works closely with her team members in the
same collaborative manner to make sure all of those identified needs are met.
Relationships Add Value
Ron Willingham, author of Integrity Selling for the 21st Century, says there is a relationship between the
salesperson’s achievement drive and his view of personal selling. Salespeople who feel a professional
responsibility to create as much value for customers as possible exhibit more energy, a stronger work
ethic, and a greater eagerness to ask customers for decisions.1
The manner in which salespeople establish, build, and manage relationships is not an incidental aspect of
personal selling; in the information age, it is the key to success. In the information economy, business is
defined by customer relationships, and sales success depends on adding value. Daniel Pink, author of To
Sell Is Human and A Whole New Mind, says we are moving from the information age to the conceptual
age. He predicts that one of the major players in the conceptual age will be the empathizer .
Empathizers have the ability to imagine themselves in someone else’s position and understand what that
person is feeling. They are able to understand the subtleties of human interaction.2
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We have defined value-added selling as a series of creative improvements in the sales process that
enhance the customer experience. Customers perceive that value is added when they feel comfortable
with the relationship they have with a salesperson. A good relationship causes customers to feel that, if a
problem arises, they will receive a just and fair solution. A good relationship creates a clearer channel of
communication about issues that might surface during each step of the sales process. Len Rodman, CEO
of Black & Veatch, a large engineering and construction company, recalls a problem operation on the
West Coast. Earnings were minimal and the person in charge could not sell to high-tier clients. He put a
salesperson in charge whose strength was building relationships. Within an 18-month period, that region
became one of the most profitable.3
Explain how partnering relationships add value
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Daniel Pink, well-known author of the best-selling To Sell Is Human and A Whole New Mind, predicts
that one of the major players in the future will be the empathizer. Empathizers have the ability to
imagine themselves in someone else’s position and understand what the person is feeling. They are able
to understand the subtleties of human interaction.
Source: fototext/Alamy
The salesperson who is honest, accountable, and sincerely concerned about the customer’s welfare
brings added value to the sale. These characteristics give the salesperson a competitive advantage—an
advantage that is becoming increasingly important in a world of “look-alike” products and similar
Partnering—The Highest-Quality Selling Relationship
Salespeople today are encouraged to think of everything they say or do in the context of their
relationship with the customer. They should constantly strive to build a long-term partnership. In a
marketplace characterized by increased levels of competition and greater product complexity, we see the
need to adopt a relationship strategy that emphasizes the “lifetime” customer. High-quality relationships
result in repeat business and those important referrals. A growing number of salespeople recognize that
the quality of the partnerships they create is as important as the quality of the products they sell. Today’s
customer wants a quality product and a quality relationship. One example of this trend is the J.D. Power
and Associates customer satisfaction studies. For example, the Domestic Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study
measures guest satisfaction among frequent business travelers. J.D. Power conducts customer
satisfaction research in several different industries.4
In Chapter 2
we defined “partnering” as a strategically developed, high-quality, long-term
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relationship that focuses on solving the customer’s buying problems.5 This definition is used in the sales
training video titled “Partnering—The Heart of Selling Today.” Traditional industrial age sales training
programs emphasized the importance of creating a good first impression and then “pushing” your
product. Partnering emphasizes building a strong relationship during every aspect of the sale and
working hard to maintain a quality relationship with the customer after the sale. Today, personal selling
must be viewed as a process, not an event.6
Larry Wilson, noted author and founder of Wilson Learning Worldwide, identifies partnering as one of
the most important strategic thought processes needed by salespeople. He points out that the salesperson
who is selling a “one-shot” solution cannot compete against the one who has developed and nurtured a
long-term, mutually beneficial partnership. Wilson believes there are three keys to a partnering
The relationship is built on shared values. If your client believes that you both share the same ideas
and values, it goes a long way toward creating a powerful relationship.
Everyone needs to clearly understand the purpose of the partnership and be committed to the vision.
Both the salesperson and the client must agree on what they are trying to do together.
The role of the salesperson must move from selling to supporting. The salesperson in a partnership is
actively concerned with the growth, health, and satisfaction of the company to which he or she is
Salespeople willing to abandon short-term thinking and invest the time and energy needed to develop a
high-quality, long-term relationship with customers are rewarded with greater earnings and the
satisfaction of working with repeat customers. Sales resulting from referrals also increase.
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Exceptional CRM systems such as [no longer online] Salesforce.com enable you to quickly
process written communications with numerous clients. One example is the form letter or e-mail.
Preparing a standard letter or template in advance lets you quickly select and send a personalized
letter or e-mail. “Personalized” means that the system will automatically add to the document the
recipient’s name, title, and other contact information you choose, even if the letter is going out to
many recipients. Careful thought should be given to each template created so that the language
reflects your win-win philosophy, your relationship strategy, and your professionalism.
Recipients of your appointment confirmations, information verifications, company or product
news, or brief updates recognize and appreciate your effort to keep them informed. The written
word conveys consideration and helps avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications. CRM
empowers you to easily use the written word to advance your relationship building.
Relationship Strategies Focus on Four Key Groups
Establishing and maintaining a partnering-type relationship internally as well as with the customers is a
vital aspect of selling. High-performance sales personnel build strong relationships with four groups (
Figure 4.1
An effective relationship strategy helps high-performing salespeople build and maintain win-win
relationships with a wide range of key groups.
1. Customers. As noted previously, a major key to success in selling is the ability to establish
working relationships with customers in which mutual support, trust, and goals are nurtured
over time. Salespeople who maintain regular contact with their customers and develop sound
business relationships based on mutual trust are able to drive up sales
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productivity, according to research conducted by the American Productivity and Quality
Today’s customer wants a quality product and a quality relationship. This means that
salespeople can create value with a well-developed relationship strategy.
Source: bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock
Cisco Systems is one of many companies that now measure themselves by the quality of their
relationships with their customers. Salespeople earn their bonuses in large part based on
customer satisfaction instead of gross sales or profit.9
2. Secondary decision makers. High-performance salespeople understand the importance of
building relationships with the people who work with customers. In many selling situations, the
first person the salesperson meets is a receptionist, a secretary, or an assistant to the primary
decision maker. These persons often can facilitate a meeting with the prospect. Also, the
prospect may involve other people in making the buying decision. For example, the decision to
buy new office furniture may be made by a team of persons including the buyer, the chief
financial officer, the facilities manager, and persons who will actually use the furniture.
3. Company support staff. The maintenance of relationships internally is a vital aspect of selling.
Support staff may include persons working in the areas of needs analysis, demonstrations,
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market research, product service, credit, training, or shipping. Influencing these people to
change their priorities, interrupt their schedules, accept new responsibilities, or fulfill any other
request for special attention is a major part of the salesperson’s job. At UPS, the drivers are the
eyes and ears of the sales force. The most successful UPS salespeople nurture a relationship
with the drivers in their sales territory.10
4. Management personnel. Sales personnel usually work under the direct supervision of a sales
manager, a department head, or some other member of the firm’s management team. With the
increasing frequency and effectiveness of team selling, the company president or CEO may
accompany the salesperson on a call. Maintaining good relationships with management
personnel is very important.
Adapting the Relationship Strategy
Ideally, the relationship strategy should be adapted to the type of customer you are working with.
Chapter 2
provided a description of the three most common types of selling situations: transactional
selling, consultative selling, and strategic alliance selling. Transactional buyers are usually aware of their
needs and often stay focused on such issues as price, convenience, and delivery schedules. They usually
know a great deal about the products or services they wish to purchase. In the transactional sale, the
relationship strategy is often secondary.
In the consultative sale, however, the impact of relationships on the sale is quite important. A
consultative sale emphasizes need identification, which is achieved through effective communication
and a relationship built upon mutual trust and respect. The consultative salesperson must display a keen
ability to listen, define the customer’s problem, and offer one or more solutions. The opportunity to
uncover hidden needs and create custom solutions is greatly enhanced by a well-conceived relationship
In terms of relationship building, strategic alliance selling is often the most challenging. Very often the
salesperson is working with a company team made up of people from such areas as research and
development (R&D), finance, and distribution. The salesperson must build a good working relationship
with each team member. Forming an alliance with another company involves building relationships with
several representatives of that buying organization.
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Customers almost never buy products from someone whom they dislike. A salesperson who is not
viewed as being helpful and trustworthy will not succeed in any type of selling situation. A quick review
of the 20 CRM contact reports found in Appendix 2, the Regional Accounts Management RAM Case
Study illustrates the importance of strong relationships with all four of the Key Selling Groups.
Thought Processes That Enhance Your Selling Relationship Strategy
Discuss how thought processes can enhance your relationship strategy
Industrial age folklore created the myth of the “born” salesperson—a dynamic, outgoing, highly
assertive individual. Experience acquired during the information age has taught us that many other
factors determine sales success. Key among these factors are a positive self-concept and the ability to
relate to others in effective and productive ways. With the aid of knowledge drawn from the behavioral
sciences, we can develop the relationship strategies needed in a wide range of selling situations.
Self-Concept—An Important Dimension of the Relationship Strategy
Your self-concept
is the bundle of facts, opinions, beliefs, and perceptions about yourself that are
present in your life every moment of every day.12 The self-concept you have today reflects information
you have received from others and life events that occurred throughout childhood, adolescence, and
adulthood. You are consciously aware of some of the things you have been conditioned to believe about
yourself. But many comments and events that have shaped your self-concept are processed at the
unconscious level and continue to influence your judgments, feelings, and behaviors whether you are
aware of them or not.13
Phillip McGraw, author of Self Matters, says we often sabotage our own success by adopting limiting
beliefs. These are the specific things we think about that cause us to conclude that we are not capable of
achieving success. These beliefs restrict our thinking and our actions.14 McGraw, better known as “Dr.
Phil,” has developed a one-sentence guide to understanding the importance of your self-concept: The
past reaches into the present, and programs the future, by your recollections and your internal rhetoric
about what you perceived to have happened in your life.15 Past experiences and events, which McGraw
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describes as “defining moments,” can influence your thinking for a lifetime.
How can you develop a more positive self-concept? How can you get rid of self-destructive ways of
thinking? Bringing your current self-concept out into the open is the first step in understanding who you
are, what you can do, and where you are going. Improving your self-concept does not happen overnight,
but it can happen. A few practical approaches are summarized as follows:
1. Focus on the future and stop being overly concerned with past mistakes or failures. We
should learn from past errors, but we should not be immobilized by them.
2. Develop expertise in selected areas. By developing “expert power,” you not only improve your
self-image but also increase the value of your contributions to your employer and your
3. Learn to develop a positive mental attitude. To develop a more positive outlook, read books
and view YouTube videos and DVDs that describe ways to develop a positive mental attitude.
Consider materials developed by Daniel Pink, Harvey Mackay, Jack Canfield, Stephen Covey, Brian
Tracy, Dale Carnegie, and Phillip McGraw.
Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, says the ability to build effective,
long-term relationships is based on character strength, not quick-fix techniques.
Source: epa european pressphoto agency b.v./Alamy
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Later in this chapter, you will learn how to develop and initiate a plan for self-improvement. If you want
to improve your self-image, consider adopting this plan.
The Win-Win Philosophy
As noted in Chapter 2
, the marketing concept is a philosophy that leaves no doubt in the mind of
every employee that customer satisfaction is of primary importance. Salespeople, working closely with
customers, are in the best position to monitor customer satisfaction.
Adopting the win-win philosophy is the first step in developing a relationship strategy. Stephen Heiman
and Diane Sanchez, authors of The New Conceptual Selling, describe the “win-win” approach as
In Win-Win selling, both the buyer and seller come out of the sale understanding that their respective best
interests have been served—in other words, that they’ve both won. It is our firm conviction, based on thousands
of selling situations, that over the long run the only sellers who can count on remaining successful are the ones
who are committed to this Win-Win philosophy.16
The win-win strategy is based on such irrefutable logic that it is difficult to understand why any other
approach would be used. The starting point to the development of a win-win philosophy is to compare
the behaviors of persons who have adopted the win-lose approach with the behaviors of persons who
have adopted the win-win approach (Figure 4.2 ).
The starting point to developing a win-win relationship strategy is to compare behaviors of win-lose
salespeople with those of salespeople who have adopted the win-win approach.
Source: Adapted from a list of losers, winners, and double winners in The Double Win by Denis Waitley.
Empathy and Ego Drive
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We have described the growing importance of being able to empathize, the ability to imagine yourself in
someone else’s position, to understand what that person is feeling. A salesperson simply cannot sell well
without the invaluable ability to get critical feedback from the client through empathy. When you sense
what the customer is feeling, you can change pace and make whatever modifications in your sales
presentation are needed.17 Fortunately, the ability to relate and connect with customers can be learned.
Ego drive is another basic quality that is of critical importance in personal selling. Ego drive
is an
inner force that makes the salesperson want and need to make the sale. Closing the sale provides a
powerful means of enhancing the salesperson’s ego. Research indicates that top salespeople have the
motivation to make the sale, and empathy gives them the connecting tool with which to do it. Therefore,
empathy and ego drive reinforce each other.18
Verbal and Nonverbal Strategies That Add Value to Your Selling
Identify and describe the major nonverbal factors that shape our sales image
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Global Business Insight Creating Value with Your
Relationship Strategy in Japan
Many American businesspeople travel to Japan because it is one of the largest U.S. trading
partners. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, so it helps to become familiar with the
Japanese business culture.
Courtesy is a major key to success in Japan. When you address someone, be sure to use titles
such as Mr., Ms., or Dr., and wait to be invited before using first names.
The Japanese are very hierarchical, so the business card is an important source of
information regarding the relative status of the other person. Accept the card with care and
then examine it. Do not put it in your pocket or wallet. Place it in a cardholder.
In Japan, the culture emphasizes the group over the individual. It would not be appropriate to
praise one member of a group.
Decision making in Japan is done very slowly. Be patient as the group reaches a consensus.
Aggressive sales methods should be avoided.a
The first contact between a salesperson and a prospect is very important. During the first few
minutes—or seconds, in most cases—the prospect and the salesperson form impressions of each other
that either facilitate or distract from the sales call. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the best-selling book
Blink, says that when two people meet for the first time, each will make very superficial, rapid
judgments about the other person. This decision-making process, he argues, usually happens
subconsciously in a split second (in the blink of an eye).19
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Malcom Gladwell, noted author of the best-selling book Blink, says that when two people meet for the
first time, each in a split second, at a subconscious level, will make very superficial rapid judgments
about the other person.
Source: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy
Every salesperson projects an image to prospective customers, and this image influences how a customer
feels about the sales representative. The image you project is the sum total of many verbal and nonverbal
factors. The quality of your voice, the clothing you wear, your posture, your manners, and your
communication style represent some of the factors that contribute to the formation of your image. We
discuss several forms of verbal and nonverbal communication in this chapter. Communication style is
examined in Chapter 5
Adding Value with Nonverbal Messages
When we attempt to communicate with another person, we use both verbal and nonverbal
communications. Nonverbal messages
are “messages without words” or “silent messages.” These
are the messages (other than spoken or written words) that we communicate through facial expressions,
voice tone, gestures, appearance, posture, and other nonverbal means.20
Research indicates that when two people communicate, nonverbal messages convey much more impact
than verbal messages. Words play a surprisingly small part in the communication process. Every spoken
message has a vocal element, coming not from what we say but from how we say it. The voice
communicates in many ways: through tone, volume, and speed of delivery. A salesperson wishing to
communicate enthusiasm needs to use a voice that is charged with energy.
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As we attempt to read nonverbal communication, it is important to remember that no one signal carries
much meaning. If the person you meet for the first time displays a weak grip during the handshake, don’t
let this one signal shape your first
impression. Such factors as posture, eye contact, gestures, clothing, and facial expression must all be
regarded together.21
Nonverbal messages influence your relationships and can reinforce or contradict the spoken word. When
your verbal message and body language are consistent, they tend to give others the impression that you
can be trusted and that what you say reflects what you truly believe. When there is a discrepancy
between your verbal and nonverbal messages, you are less apt to be trusted.”22
Influence of Your Entrance and Carriage
As noted earlier, the first impression we make is very important. The moment a salesperson walks into a
client’s office, the client begins making judgments. Susan Bixler, author of The Professional Image and
Professional Presence, makes this comment:
All of us make entrances throughout our business day as we enter offices, conference rooms, or meeting halls.
And every time we do, someone is watching us, appraising us, sizing us up, and gauging our appearance, even
our intelligence, often within the space of a few seconds.23
Bixler says that the key to making a successful entrance is simply believing—and projecting—that you
have a reason to be there and have something important to offer the client. You can communicate
confidence with a strong stride, a good posture, and a friendly smile. A confident manner communicates
to the client the message, “This meeting will be beneficial to you.”
Influence of Shaking Hands
An inadequate handshake is like dandruff: No one mentions it, but everyone notices it. Today, the
handshake is an important symbol of respect and, in most business settings, it is the proper greeting.24
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Selling in Action Remembering Names
In the field of personal selling, remembering a person’s name is very important. To improve your
ability to recall names, use one or more of these memory aids.
Verify the spelling. After hearing the name ask, “Is that Reece with a ‘c’ or ‘s’?” Repetition
helps you remember the name.
Ask how the person wants to be addressed. Ask, “Should I call you Thomas or Tom?”
This presents another opportunity for repetition.
Relate the name to something easy to remember. If the person’s last name is Park, connect
this name with “Yosemite” in your mind. Some aspect of appearance (hairstyle, eyeglasses,
etc.) might serve as a connecting reference.
Use the name quickly. Work the person’s name into the conversation right away: “Mary, can
I ask you a few questions?”
Use the name frequently. During and at the end of the meeting, work the name into the
conversation: “Eric, thank you for meeting with me.”
Source: Reprinted with permission of the publisher from “Secrets of Power Persuasion for
Salespeople” ©2003. Published by Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ. All rights reserved. See
Roger Dawson, “And Your Name Was Again?” Value-Added Selling 21, July 16, 2007, p. 2.
Used with permission.
In the field of selling, the handshake is usually the first and frequently the only physical contact one
makes during a sales call. The handshake can communicate warmth, genuine concern for the prospect,
and an image of strength. It also can communicate aloofness, indifference, and weakness to the
customer. The message we communicate with a handshake is determined by a combination of five
1. Eye contact during the handshake. Eyes transmit more information than any other part of the
body, so maintain eye contact throughout the handshaking process and display a pleasant smile.
2. Degree of firmness. Generally speaking, a firm handshake communicates a caring attitude,
whereas a weak grip (the “dead-fish” handshake) communicates indifference.
3. Depth of interlock. A full, deep grip communicates friendship to the other person.
4. Duration of grip. There are no specific guidelines to tell us what the ideal duration of a grip
should be. However, by extending the duration of the handshake we can often
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communicate a greater degree of interest and concern for the other person. Do not pump up and
down more than once or twice.
5. Degree of dryness of the hands. A moist palm not only is uncomfortable to handle but also can
communicate the impression that you are quite nervous. Some people have a physiological
problem that causes clammy hands and should keep a handkerchief within reach to remove
excess moisture.25
The best time to present your name is when you extend your hand. When you introduce yourself, state
your name clearly and then listen carefully to be certain you hear the customer’s name. To ensure that
you remember the customer’s name, repeat it. In some cases you need to check to be sure you are
pronouncing it properly. When appropriate, it is a good idea to write the name.
Spending an afternoon with a customer on the golf course is part of the relationship strategy of this
salesperson. Many companies support this approach to building and maintaining relationships.
Source: Exactostock/Superstock.
Influence of Facial Expressions
If you want to identify the inner feelings of another person, watch facial expressions closely. The face is
a remarkable communicator, capable of accurately signaling emotion in a split second and capable of
concealing emotion equally well. We can often determine whether the customer’s face is registering
surprise, pleasure, or skepticism (Figure 4.3 ). Facial expressions are largely universal, so people
around the world tend to “read” faces in a similar way. It is worth noting that the smile is the most
recognized facial signal in the world, and it can have a great deal of influence on others. George Rotter,
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professor of psychology at Montclair University, says, “Smiles are an enormous controller of how
people perceive you.” People tend to trust a smiling face.26 Get in the habit of offering a sincere smile
each time you meet with a prospect.
Our subtle facial gestures are continuously sending messages to others.
Influence of Eye Contact
When the customer is talking, eye contact is one of the best ways to say, “I’m listening.” If you are
looking across the room or at papers in your briefcase, the customer will assume you are not listening.
However, prolonged eye contact can send the wrong message. A prolonged, direct stare can be
threatening. To avoid the prolonged stare, take fleeting glances at your notes. As the customer speaks,
nod occasionally to indicate agreement or interest.27
Impact of Appearance on Relationships
We form opinions about people based on a pattern of immediate impressions conveyed by appearance.
The clothing we wear, the length and style of our hair, the fragrances we use, and the jewelry we display
all combine to make a statement about us to others—a statement of primary importance to anyone
involved in selling.
We all have certain views, or unconscious expectations , concerning appropriate dress. In sales work,
we should try to anticipate the expectations of our clientele. The clothing worn by salespeople does
make a difference in terms of customer acceptance because it communicates powerful messages. The
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clothing we wear can influence our credibility and likability, thereby adding value to our selling
Most image consultants agree that there is no single “dress for success” look. The appropriate wardrobe
varies from one city or region to another and from company to company. However, there are some
general guidelines that we should follow in selecting clothing for sales work. Four key words should
govern our decisions: simplicity, appropriateness, quality, and visual integrity.28
The color of clothing, as well as design, communicates a message to the customer. Some colors are
showy and convey an air of casualness. In a business setting we want to be taken seriously, so flashy
colors should usually be avoided.
Selecting appropriate clothing for sales work can be a challenge. We must carefully consider the clients
we serve and decide what may be acceptable to them. Many salespeople are guided by the type of
products they sell and the desired image projected by their employers. Deciding what constitutes
appropriate attire in today’s business casual world begins with an understanding of what it means to
“dress down.” Business casual
is clothing that allows you to feel comfortable but looks neat and
professional. Pay close attention to the clothing your clients wear.29 If a client is wearing a nice sports
coat, a collared long-sleeved shirt, and dress slacks, don’t wear khaki trousers and a short-sleeve polo
shirt. In recent years, the casual dress trend has been reversed at many companies, and workplace dress
codes have become more formal.30
The quality of our wardrobe also influences the image we project to customers. A salesperson’s
wardrobe should be regarded as an investment, with each item carefully selected to look and fit well.
Susan Bixler says, “If you want respect, you have to dress as well as or better than your industry
Visual Integrity
Visual presence must have a certain amount of integrity and consistency. The images you project are
made up of many factors, and lack of attention to important details can negate your effort to create a
good impression. Too much jewelry, a shirt that does not fit well, or unshined shoes can detract from the
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professional look you want to project. People often are extra alert when meeting someone new, and this
heightened consciousness makes every detail count.32
Keep in mind that customer contact often takes place in several settings. The first meeting with a
customer may take place in the office, but the second meeting may be on the golf course. And the third
meeting may take place at a nice restaurant. The clothing you wear in each of these settings is important.
Impact of Voice Quality on Relationships
As noted previously, every spoken message has a vocal element. What we hear is greatly influenced…
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