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Are ethics dead? – Part 3 “untitled” 

[in progress…]

The obvious main goal of unethical business practices is to make more money.

So what does that mean?

Let’s take a very quick peek at the areas of focus for a ‘normal’ (if not common) ethical business.

Well, when I’m managing, speaking, or coaching a business and I’m trying to achieve growth (which is always), I always come back to the Five Keys to Growing Any Business. 

This is a template that I’ve developed and successfully implemented again and again.  It is also the lens through which I would diagnose and troubleshoot a struggling business in need of a turnaround.

  1. Get more customers
  2. Get more of them to actually buy something
  3. Be more profitable on those deals
  4. Get them to buy more regularly and more often
  5. Get them to bring us more business through recommendations and referrals.
[The “Five Keys to Growing Any Business”  is copyrighted Marc J Gilbert / Gilbert Consulting / All rights reserved.  Thank you]

These are the areas I would review with any business.  But, a discussion of these in detail if for another article.

Here, we are shining a light under the bed and trying to chase away some of the monsters terrorizing their customers.

We can still use the 5 keys to see how an unethical business person works.  Let’s start with number one.

1. Get more customers

Here, we are talking broadly about advertising, marketing, messaging, and market share.

Here are some of the unethical practices we find in this area of business activity:

  • Purposely deceptive ads
  • Advertising unavailable items
  • Bait and switch schemes
  • Advertised pricing contingent on other purchases or volume requirements
  • Non-disclosure of additional fees
  • Baseless claims as to qualify, function, etc.
  • False sales / limited time / last one style events

There are many more, as the tricksters bag is very deep, but this gives us a reminder of this ‘category’ of unethical business behavior.

[note to self, I may decide to break these articles up by ‘category’ but for now I’m going to continue to write while it’s ‘flowing’]

The next one is…

2. Get more of them to actually buy something

In an ethical business, for those of us who found a love of and developed a skill for sales techniques, this is one of our favorite areas of focus.

But for the unethical person, this is a buffet of gluttonous opportunity.

Let me add something here.  (I’m trying to write this in a somewhat ‘stream-of-conciousness’ way without over-thinking everything so that I don’t forget to come back later.  So please forgive my popping around)

But I want to add that, as a true lover and devotee of salescraft from a young age, I have always valiantly defended the profession from the stereotypes.  The world generally accepts that used car salespeople are expected to share a cab with lepers (and lawyers).

I would always push back.  I never blinked when defending the ethical salesperson.

“It is possible to be an ethical salesperson,”  I would say.  There is such a thing as a true ‘win-win’ <cliché alarm sounds>

But I was quickly disillusioned as I ventured further and deeper into the ‘real?’ world.

Okay, back to unethical business practices are related to area of focus number 2: “Get more of the to actually buy something”:

The list of deceptive one-on-one sales practices could fill a library and likely exceeds the body of knowledge on ethical sales practices.

Think about this:

A customer may buy product XYZ, once every now and then or may go years between purchases.

But the salesperson does this many times a day.  The salesperson has strategized how best to get the sale.  The salesperson is often working with a team of other professionals each playing their role in getting the customer to the finish line.  If we add unethical techniques into this chain…

The customer never had a chance. 

There is no exhaustive list but most are some form of lying or dissembling:

  • “This is our last one”
  • “I’ve got another offer on it…”
  • “Sales ends tomorrow”
  • “Somebody’s coming back for that”

These types of strategies take advantage of the client’s ‘fear of loss’ which is a powerful driver.  This approach is the realm of lazy, talentless, salespeople looking to take advantage of their customer for a quick score.  With no regard for the customer’s satisfaction or the businesses reputation.

The next area is:

3. Be more profitable on those deals

[in progress..]

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