Is Honesty Important In Sales?

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Having just returned from a gorgeous holiday on the islands of Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini, I’ll never forget what happened on Santorini.

We arrived by boat at the port and could not see a single taxi to take us to our hotel. An excited, prospecting salesperson standing outside the car hire office, took his opportunity to invite us in and proceeded to sell us the idea of hiring a car.  He asked how long we were there for (only 24 hours) and said that hiring a car would be our best option.  Then we could see the whole island. “Anyway”, he said, “a taxi to your hotel would cost 30 euros, taxi to the airport next day 30 euros and I will give you a good deal of 80 euros including petrol and insurance  to hire the car for a day with a drop off at the airport. It seemed like a good idea so this is what we did.  We realised hiring a car at the port was not probably the cheapest place to hire a car but it was at least convenient.

When we got to the hotel, out of interest, I asked how much a taxi from the port would have cost.  I was told 15 euros . It would be the same price to the airport and the car hire place next door would have been half what we paid!

Hmmm.  We felt ripped off.  Anyway, determined to make the most of our time on Santorini, we made use of the car and toured the whole island.  It got to one hour before the time to return the car to the airport and suddenly, the car came to a halt.

Fortunately for us, we were near a taverna where we could call the car company.  They thought we had probably run out of petrol .  “But” we cried, “you said the petrol was included”. “Yes,” they said, “but we guessed how much you would use and only put that amount in!”  (The petrol monitor was not working by the way as it consistently said 1-1 on the dial).  As we were close to the airport by then and they were going to meet us there anyway, they came to rescue us with a can of petrol . Needless to say , the car started again immediately.

The point of the story is this.  Am I ever going to recommend that company again to anyone?  I don’t think so.  It would have been better if the salesperson had told us the truth about taxi prices and car hire competitor prices and then built the value of having a car in other ways like saving time getting buses, using the sightseeing time more effectively, saving money on sightseeing tours.

Honesty is always  important in sales and definitely the  best policy. Then you have a better chance of repeat and referral business.

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