From today’s mailbag: “Lots of people in my department cheat and add services to customers’ accounts they know nothing about. Even my boss has indicated that this is common and they would look the other way if I did this to boost numbers. I can’t believe I’m even considering it to be able to compete and earn a bonus. What should I do about this?”
Carson: Cheating is a line that – once crossed – there is no way back. You’re tainted. Trust me, I can tell you that you can be the best without cheating. These times are temporary, cheaters will be exposed eventually and when the dust settles, you’ll be the one standing proudly behind real numbers.
Look at major league baseball as a prime example. Those who have cheated over the last couple of decades posted inflated numbers and celebrated false victories in the moment. But, after all that’s said and done, how do we currently view these fallen heroes? They will never make it into the Hall of Fame, their legacies are destroyed, and they are a punchline.
If any manager tells you to cheat or condones cheating, they are weak and an extremely poor leader. They, too, will eventually find their way out of the business, believe me. Sales results are all about people and process. If you are struggling in any key metric of your bonus plan or your compensation, look at the reasons why customers are declining. Look to people who are being successful without cheating and find out what they do. Birds of a feather flock together – link up with the winners in your department and share best practices.
Unfortunately, doing things the right way and living a career of integrity can often be a lonely road. You will see accolades and praise given for people that are completely undeserving and will be flavor-of-the-month folks who throw up phony numbers. A career is a body of work. You don’t have to be #1 every month, and – frankly – sometimes you have to keep your head down and nose clean and do your job while everything else takes care of itself of its own volition.
The moral of the story: Never, never, never cheat. There are a variety of ways to produce results in any metric without cheating; learn best practices from others. Analyze your process to ensure you are asking the right fact finding questions to form enough return on investment ammunition to pitch the product and overcome any objections, and, if your own boss is not going to be a resource, seek counseling from others on your coaching needs and career.
It is frustrating to watch others be praised in an arena you cannot currently compete in – but that’s the very reason that when you earn the accolades you desire and deserve, the victory will be that much sweeter. You will have proven you did it the right way and 5-10 years down the road when you’re doing something else you want to do or you’re running the department, the lessons you’ve learned and the experiences you are gaining now will be invaluable.
Carson V. Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”
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Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be.
If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G28TWF