The Seller Code of Conduct
I am proud to be a Seller, one of a relatively few people, given the general perception is that my profession is not one to be proud of.
OK, that is anecdotal, but if you need empirical evidence...
The 2022 Gallup Honest and Ethical Standards Survey in the US, revealed that just 24% of people rated Real Estate Agents highly and only 10%, Car Salespeople (the only Sellers rated). Nurses at 79% rated most highly.
Interestingly, that correlates markedly with:
The Australian Government's 2022 Ethics Index, ranked Real Estate Agents at the bottom at 28% (only politicians ranked lower!). Again, nurses ranked first at 83%.
Why do Sellers rate so badly?
Are they inherently dishonest?
Of course not. people who sell are likely as honest/dishonest as any other cross-section of the community.
That terrible reputation is not about who Sellers are or even what they do.
It is about how they go about it. The problem is 'selling,' not Sellers.
Selling is Broken.
Consider the behaviors stereotypically associated with Sellers. They are not endearing. For the most part, we are seen as pushy, self-interested, and often worse, manipulative and disingenuous. In short, not to be trusted.
I won't dwell here on the cause; that is another article. For now, though (and IMHO), much is down to dysfunctional corporate processes and leadership e.g., reporting cycles, goals, compensation plans that undermine good behavior, and even a bro' culture in some quarters. In summary, not the fault of the Seller, but the environment they are expected to operate in.
And I'm not holier than thou here; I admit that I have been party to that dysfunction at times in my career. That was a long time ago, though.
Nevertheless, I am inevitably tarred with that stereotype brush.
And I no longer care to be.
The stereotype is not me. I stand for something different.
I believe selling needs a set of standards, a 'Seller Code of Conduct.' And being unable to find such a thing, I’ve drafted one.
My motivation is not altruism, but a commercial ideal that what is good for Buyers should be good for Sellers.
This Code reflects what I do, so I am comfortable with it. And I appreciate that may only be the case for some, which is the point. That selling is not one size fits all.
I hope that at least it prompts a conversation.
A Seller Code of Conduct
In my dealings with Buyers, I shall…
Be Buyer-Centric by prioritizing their interests to source solutions ahead of my own to make a sale, not simply to be altruistic, but because I genuinely believe that is in my best interests too.
Act with Integrity by being ethical, honest, transparent, and notwithstanding my personal interests, free of bias.
Appreciate their points of view by being curious, listening attentively, and confirming my understanding with them.
Seek to understand their commercial, professional, and (relevant) personal situations, requirements and desired outcomes, and perceptions of value.
Focus on their outcomes by collaborating to create solutions that deliver the results/value they want and by appreciating that no product or service is a solution until they say it is.
Respect their time and my own, by qualifying early whether the potential exists for me to be of value to them and gracefully disengaging if it becomes apparent I cannot be.
Be sincere by curating relevant information and insights, highlighting what they may overlook, and respectfully challenging their thinking to facilitate informed decision-making.
Reduce their risk in buying by acknowledging that change creates risk and by highlighting the risks that I become aware of and potential strategies to mitigate them.
Empower their advocacy by recognizing their potential difficulty in gaining stakeholder acceptance of change and equipping them with resources that validate the benefits.
Respect their timelines by appreciating that they will buy when they are ready and that my sales goals are of no interest to them.
Offer fair Commercial Terms that are at least comparable to those I offer to other buyers under similar circumstances.
Support adoption by ensuring they receive the necessary guidance and support to effectively use and gain value from whatever they buy from me.
Represent my employer honestly and conscientiously and apply my best efforts to the achievement of its objectives, short of compromising this Code.
Keep Learning to expand my knowledge and capabilities to stay relevant and of value to them.