Selling Integrity

When we hear news reports of personal and corporate falls from grace (read HP’s Mark Hurd, IBM’s Robert Moffat, Tiger Woods, BP, etc.) our reactions may range from “How could they?” or “What were they thinking?” to “Could this ever happen to me?” We may be grateful that our lives are not lived under a microscope and public scrutiny. While their demise is self-imposed, our hearts do go out to those men and women fallen in shame on the public stage.

But is not integrity more than just actions and words. Even in the business world it starts from within. Who are you when the door’s closed? What kind of decisions are you making when know one’s looking? What drives your moral compass?

In sales and business arenas the issue of integrity comes up most often in the context of honesty and trustworthiness with customers, coworkers and finances. Is one a reputable salesperson or sales leader in their everyday dealings and actions? Do they fudge their reports, their activities, their product claims? Can they be trusted in their responsiveness and professionalism? We certainly want integrity here and demand it in our organizations.

If we’re honest with ourselves, the outside may look good enough but betray an inner hole. Who we are at our core may be more important than if we simply don’t cheat on expense reports or tweak the truth with customers. The true, inner-self knows the score. Stepping up integrity of who we are on the inside can lead to improved alignment of behavior and actions of the outside.

In the sales world this resonates as truth: true selling with integrity springs forth from true personal integrity.