Recently I heard someone quote a "paradoxical saying of Winston Churchhill's: "When you have integrity, you don't need anything else; when you don't have integrity, you don't need anything else." I immediately thought of how important the word integrity is to customers. The word integrity derives from the Latin word "integer" a word that made it into mathematics. Integers are whole numbers. The basic meaning of integer is whole, that is, having all its parts.
When salespeople practice integrity in their selling, the customer ends up benefitting from all the features of the product he or she purchases. Of course, if a salesperson doesn't mention he or she is looking for a certain feature, most of us trainers are fond of saying we don't need to bring up that feature. I agree with that thinking to a point. But once the sell is signed and ready for deliivery, I found my customers appreciated my telling them something like the following: "I know we didn't cover all the features in this product, since I felt you were interested only in the benefits you told me you were looking for. But just in case there are a few hidden features in this product that you may have a need for in time, I underlined some that may be important for you to know."
Selling with integrity goes further than selling with honesty alone. The two are a lot like efficency and effectiveness. The great Peter Drucker defined efficiency as doing things right, effectiveness as doing the right things . The word 'right' in the first part of sentence is an adverb, the word 'right' in the second part of the sentence is an adjective. Honesty is like efficiency; integrity is like effectiveness. In my experience, I have seen salespeople who do things right, but who do not do the right things. Efficiency is following the letter of selling; effectiveness is following the spirit of selling.
See all of Peter Marino's articles on selling for furniture sales professionals in the Sales Skills Archives of the www.furninfo.com website.