Sales Stories

 From the Field

by Lloyd Eells and Jeff Hyman

DOES INTEGRITY PAY? We know it does, even though some weeks it might seem that the best-paying deals out there were made at the expense of the merchant. We see products and services that are sometimes misrepresented and prices charged that are way above the norm. Although a sales rep may profit from such deals monetarily, the gain is often temporary and bears negative repercussions. Aside from the fact that such misrepresentations are fundamentally wrong, a company could be sued for negligent misrepresentation. Further, the possibility of referrals from this merchant is most likely lost. Not only is a positive flow undermined, but negative advertising is sure to flourish as this serves as a measure of revenge for the merchant.
   Lloyd and I have been working at Lynk for four years as sales reps in the field. We've both discovered that ethical selling leads to positive word-of-mouth advertising and referrals, both of which are lifelines to success and longevity in this business. It's no coincidence that when we find merchants who have been cheated, we often learn that the unscrupulous rep is no longer selling in the business. Here are stories that illustrate the benefits of good ethics:

Lloyd's Story

About a year ago while canvassing in Los Angeles, I came across a truck wash in need of my services. The owner and I met at his auto registration business. Because he had little trust for salespeople in our industry, he proposed, �Before I give you my truck wash, I want to see how you do with my travel agency.� I explained that Lynk did not service travel agencies but I would try to recommend a reputable processor. I cautioned that the rates would be high and there would be additional stipulations because of the underwriting risk factor for the travel business and then I purposely dragged my feet on the project. When I finally followed up, the merchant had already signed with another processor and had a new terminal installed, with a great discount rate.
   I proposed that the merchant let me set up his truck wash and after two months he could do a comparison between the two processors. We went over all the particulars and I discovered that the merchant already owned a usable terminal and printer. I asked why he had purchased a new terminal when he could have used his existing equipment for his travel agency. He said the other rep had told him his old equipment was unusable. I let him know that his existing equipment was fine � it was clear that rep had misrepresented the merchant�s needs to make the equipment sale. Two months later the merchant discovered that the rep had also misrepresented his company�s ability to service travel agencies. Instead his business had been set-up to resemble a local tour company. Unfortunately, when the merchant processed his first travel sale for $17,000, the money was held. The rep never returned any of the merchant�s desperate phone calls
   After rescuing the owner by having a friendly competitor set him up properly, I was rather irritated at myself for having spent so much time on this account. But then the merchant handed me two other auto registration businesses that he owned. After several months of good service, he gave me two more. Since then, he�s also referred me to four of his friends with the intro, �This man will tell you the truth.� And I�ve signed them too. Just last week he called me to send me five gas stations. If the other rep is still in the business, I hope he reads this story.

Jeff's Story

The trunk of one of my referral trees started with a Venice Beach, CA art gallery who referred me to a woman opening a new gallery. The woman wasn�t able to get her own business bank account, so I helped her set up that up and established a trusting relationship in the process. I now have 10 accounts (in a 30-mile radius) from her referrals and referrals from those referrals.
   The set-up of a new location of one such merchant referral required a great deal of assistance � requiring me to make numerous phone calls, send many e-mails and work long hours to resolve. The merchant was grateful and promised to refer me to his friends. About two months later, I was cold-calling nearby and stopped in at a restaurant. The owner wasn�t there, so I decided to have lunch. As I was getting a plate I saw an older Japanese gentleman who looked familiar. It turned out he was one of the artists who exhibited at the art gallery belonging to my afore-mentioned merchant and we had seen each other there. He asked me what had brought me to the restaurant. I said I�d come looking for the owner to try to set her up with my credit card processing company. He said the owner was his girlfriend and he would arrange a meeting. She checked up on my background with the art gallery merchant, I wrote the deal and got a few free meals in the process!

The lessons in both stories:

5)You can never tell where your next deal is coming from
4)Bad news travels faster than good news
3)Your ethics follow you wherever you go
2)Good ethics not only write deals but can get you a free meal and more
1)And the number one moral of both stories: integrity pays.

Lloyd Eells is a Southern California district territory manager for Lynk Systems, Inc. Jeff Hyman is a Southern California district senior account executive for Lynk Systems, Inc. Visit the Lynk websites and