Three Causes of Unethical Behavior at Work

By Jeff Beals

I remember sitting through a discussion session about a year ago at a real estate conference.  I presented earlier in the day and then stuck around to participate in the rest of the program.

The topic of business ethics came up and attendees all agreed that companies and individual professionals should always strive to behave ethically.  Then one of the participants made the argument that placing a major emphasis on ethics actually makes a company more profitable.

Several heads nodded in agreement, but a guy sitting near me rolled his eyes and spoke up: “That might be the case in the markets where some of you live, but that’s not the case in Chicago and New York.”  He went on to say that sophisticated real estate investors in those fast-moving markets are not receptive to talk about ethics, because it’s a “soft topic,” something that doesn’t resonate with serious real estate professionals.

This cynical fellow was well dressed, clear spoken and possessed of confidence, which caused some of the participants to nod in agreement, but to this day, his assertion remains one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  It was also an insult to the millions of ethical professionals working in Chicago and New York!

Regardless of how sharply you focus on hard results, putting an emphasis on ethical behavior and ethical decision-making always pays off in the long run. No doubt there are times when taking the ethical road causes a short-term loss. But over the course of many years, those professionals and companies that build an ethical reputation will be particularly adept at attracting and retaining clients (thereby increasing profits).  Nobody is perfect, and no organization does everything right every time, but a commitment to ethics positively changes culture in the end.

I think some “serious” business professionals don’t want to talk about ethics because they don’t want to contemplate their own unethical behavior. Contrary to what some hotshots might think, ethics-in-business is NOT a soft topic.

As researchers dig deeper into the effect of ethics on outcomes, we are learning that everything in a business (or any other organization) is interconnected.

The Business Ethics Alliance, a program affiliated with Creighton University, recently highlighted research from the Journal of Business Ethics, which suggested that stressful situations at work may lead decision makers to act unethically.

Researchers surveyed employees from a multinational engineering company. Participants completed questionnaires that asked about different sources of stress in the workplace. Participants also described how they would react to certain ethical dilemmas.

What was the end result? Out of multiple sources of stress, three were associated with stronger intentions to engage in unethical behavior:

  1. A Lack of Rewards – Regardless of the whether the lack of rewards is real or perceived, it may lead decision makers to compensate themselves in unethical ways.
  1. Poor Team Work – Frustration over poor team work may result in unethical actions toward other team members or the organization as a whole.
  1. Lack of Information – When employees don’t have adequate information, their ability to even perceive an ethical dilemma is impaired.

Interestingly, the other forms of stress studied but not particularly prone to impair ethical decision-making were powerlessness, ambiguity, overload, boredom, lack of feedback, punishment and alienation.

The Business Ethics Alliance recommends organizational leaders remember that rewards can be non-materialistic, such as positive feedback. Leaders should minimize these sources of stress in order to maximize ethical decision-making potential.

We may never see the day when each of us behaves ethically one-hundred percent of the time, but a conscientious commitment to ethics will eventually make a better world and a better place for us to live and work.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

 

 

How Good Sales Professionals Become Great Ones

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By Jeff Beals

The legendary John D. Rockefeller famously said, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

The struggle to move from good to great has captured the imagination of ambitious people for centuries if not millennia.

And it’s not just individuals. Good companies have long fixated on achieving greatness. In 2001, Jim Collins wrote his best-selling book, Good to Great, which changed the way executives talk. For example, “get the right people on the bus,” is now firmly rooted in the global lexicon of business.

In the book, Collins asked big questions…Why do some companies do well when a similar competitor languishes? Why do some companies transition from being merely successful to being truly great? What traits separate the good from the great?

I like to ask similar questions about individual people especially those who sell things for a living – Why do some sales professionals race to the top right away while others spend 40 years wallowing in mediocrity?  Why do 20 percent of sales reps win 80 percent of the business?

After studying great sales people, I’ve come up with a list of things that can turn you from good to great:

The Foundational Stuff – For starters, the great ones have mastered all the things that “good” sales people do such as working hard, overcoming prospecting reluctance, ethics, professionalism, time management skills, self-confidence, maintaining good records, etc.

Attitude – Top producers religiously abide by three words: responsibility, authority and accountability.  They accept total responsibility for their lives and careers, they know they have the authority to carry out their responsibilities, and they are 100-percent accountable for whatever happens.  If they succeed, they graciously accept credit and never chalk it up to “luck.”  If they screw up, the take full responsibility even if they got a raw deal.  They never blame, and they refuse to be victims.

Creativity – Successful sales pros think of good things to sell and then find the right client for the idea.  Top producers often put the idea of making a purchase in the would-be client’s head long before he or she would have thought about it on their own.  Don’t wait for the ideal customer to come to you; proactively create new clients.

Persistence – In today’s crazy world in which many of your clients are simply too busy to talk to you, it commonly takes 10 or more email and voice mail messages before you reach someone.  Don’t give up.

Quick Thinking – Many deals almost die as you near closing time because of some last-minute “crisis.”  This is where outstanding salespeople shine.  Think on your feet, come up with alternatives, get the two sides to come to the table and don’t panic.

Listen Intensely – To be a top producer, you have to listen and truly hear.  It’s generally best to listen twice as much as you talk.  Great sellers don’t script questions; instead they write down the information they need and then ask the prospect whatever probing questions are necessary until they have all that info.

Extensive Product Knowledge – A great sales pro knows what he or she sells. If there were “Ten Commandments of Selling,” one of them would definitely be, “Know Thy Market.”  You need to be able to rattle of facts quickly and know the product intimately enough to answer the detailed questions that come deep in the selling process.

Speed Kills – Now that consumers can find information instantaneously, they expect super-quick service even when dealing with complicated, B2B purchases.  Responding to emails/voice mails within 24 hours simply isn’t fast enough anymore.  We must be as responsive as possible.

Think Long Term –Great sales reps realize that a short-term or self-serving gain is never worth the long-term price.  There’s an old saying that goes, “Client before commission.”  Those who follow this never seem to have trouble making a lot of commission in the end.

Constantly learning – To be a top-one-percenter in sales, you must constantly learn.  Top producers are always looking to improve, always looking for an edge.  They also hunt for new technologies that can make them more efficient or differentiate them from the pack.  Also seek out mentors and coaches.

Think Big –The smaller the deal, the bigger the headache. Don’t waste much time on deals that pay very little. Time is the single scarcest resource in the world.  Use your time in such a way that delivers the biggest bang for the buck.

Specialization – Drill deep in order to go broad!  Those reps who become experts and spend at least 75% of their time in one specialty area, almost always do better than the generalists.  People pay a premium for true subject matter experts.  It’s why surgical physicians bring home more money than general practitioners.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

5 Ways to Develop Trust with Your Clients

By Jeff Beals

Here are a couple indisputable truths about today’s business environment:

  • Sales cycles are much faster than they were 10 years ago.
  • Buyers are distracted and under much more pressure than they were in earlier times.

Because we now operate in a frenzied selling environment, some sales professionals believe there is no longer a need to develop trust. They argue that there’s not enough time to build trusting relationships, and even when you do have time, many buyers prefer to keep their vendors at arm’s length.

I personally don’t agree.

I acknowledge that sales professionals must try harder to build trust, but the end result is well worth the effort.  The good news is that you don’t have to go from not knowing someone to lifelong confidant in one setting.  Build trust a little bit at a time.  When you first meet a prospective client, get to know them, build rapport and establish a relationship.  As you get serious about doing business together, there are five ways you can develop trust.  Keep doing these things over time, and you’ll develop a close friendship with a person who will become one of your all-time best clients:

  1. Communication

Those sales professionals who go out of their way to communicate tend to build trust quicker and more deeply with clients. Detailed and timely communication removes suspicions and reassures clients.  Tell the truth and don’t procrastinate when you need to tell prospects things they don’t want to hear.  As former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell once said, “Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.”

Another important part of communication is to say you are sorry when appropriate. It’s amazing how much an earnest and sincere apology can boost trust.

  1. Moment of Truth

At some point in any given relationship, you will encounter a moment of truth, a time in which you will be faced with an important decision. How you decide to act determines if you “pass” the moment of truth.  If you do pass it, you build trust.  Fail it and the relationship could be irreparably damaged.

What are some moment-of-truth examples? When it’s tempting to lie but you tell the truth.  When you have a choice to do something in your interest or your client’s interest and you choose the client’s. When you go the extra mile to help clients achieve their goals. When you screw up and do everything in your power to fix the situation.

Moments of truth are opportunities.  Embrace them as a chance to prove your trustworthiness and advance the relationship.  Every time you pass a moment of truth, no matter how small, trust becomes at least a little deeper.

 3. Consistent Performance

People trust other people whose behavior is predictable. If you are the type of person who responds to challenges in a consistently professional manner, you come across as trustworthy.

The best predictor of a person’s future actions is frequent past behavior. If you consistently establish frequent past behavior that is trustworthy, it will be much easier for you to be trusted in the future.

  1. Behave Like a Fiduciary

In addition to my speaking and sales consulting practice, I work in commercial real estate. I’ve held a real estate license for the past 16 years.  As a licensee, I legally have a fiduciary relationship with my clients. That means I am required to put their interests before mine. Even if you work in a profession that requires no licensure, pretend you have a fiduciary relationship with your clients and behave accordingly.  Practice this habit over a period of time and your clients will adore you.

  1. Be Absolutely Responsive

Andy Paul, author of Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps To Accelerate Every Company’s Sales, argues that the race does not go to the swift; it goes to the responsive. In a marketplace in which buyers complete much of the sales cycle on their own before they even contact a salesperson, you can’t be relatively responsive. You need to be absolutely responsive!

Paul says you follow up with 100 percent of leads immediately, practice unconditional support, make sure you have someone with deep product knowledge readily available in a client-facing position and record all facts in your CRM system immediately while the information is fresh.

No longer is it okay for salespeople to return messages within 24 hours.  That’s simply not fast enough.

In closing, those who flourish in sales for many years endure because they put a premium on people. They build trusting relationships not just for financial gain but because it’s also the right thing to do.

Elite sales professionals are in business for their clients. Ordinary ones are in business for themselves.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

 

The Top 12 Personal Branding Essentials for Sales Professionals

By Jeff Beals

In order to be an effective salesperson or savvy marketer, you must understand the value of personal branding and how to make it a part of your work.  When it comes to personal branding, keep these 12 key points in mind:

1. Regardless of what you sell, everything is easier when you have a great personal brand.

2. If you have a widely recognized and highly respected personal brand, your voicemails and emails are more likely to be returned.

3. All sales professionals should seek to become celebrities in their own spheres of interest.

4. Excellence is not enough. In a competitive marketplace, talent and hard work are simply expected.

5. You are not just a human being. You are an entity, a business of one, a business unto yourself.

6. You are in a lifelong series of “campaigns” trying to be “elected” to whatever matters to you. That’s why you should think like a politician.

7. Live actively and focus externally. In order to become a celebrity in your sphere of interest, you need to be seemingly “everywhere.”

8. Develop an area of self-marketing expertise, something related to what you do but is fascinating to people who do not do what you do. This is what you talk about when you network.

9. Don’t network just for the sake of networking. Focus on results.

10. Put on a show. Don’t be someone you are not, but play up your strengths and put forth your best image possible.

11. While you are portraying yourself in a positive light, do keep it real. Your prospects can sense authenticity as well as a lack of it.

12. Never go back on any promise made to any prospective client during a networking encounter.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, award-winning author and sales consultant, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com