Today, I want to answer a question I get asked more than I'd like to (you know I'll always be honest with you): "Bill, how can integrity make me money?"
Now, I'm not gonna lie, this question bugs me a little bit. Because I think that as men we should STRIVE to live lives FULL of integrity even if they COST us.
But the truth is that, more often than not, living with integrity actually MAKES you money. Here's how:
Think about the stereotypes of salesmen that you remember hearing about when you were growing up. One type that you might remember from old sitcoms would be the slick, fast-talking guy who would get a gleam in his eye when a customer came in. He might start rubbing his hands together like he was getting ready for a big meal—which he was! That customer was his prey. If he was selling clothes or shoes, you could be sure that he would talk up anything that caught the potential customer's eye:
"You look GREAT in that hat!" "That jacket is JUST YOUR COLOR!" "That suit makes you look ten years YOUNGER!"
If he was a used car salesman, you can bet that the car he was selling had only been driven to church on Sundays by a little old lady who kept it spotless and in perfect condition!
Another stereotype has been seen more recently on TV and in movies. In these scenarios, the salesman is a hard-charging, cynical guy, and he won't take NO for an answer. He is the personification of his motto, "Greed is good!" and he's not waiting around for repeat business! He's looking to sell as much as he can to whomever he can, and, often, the product he's selling is of poor quality. If there's a choice of products, he'll push the one that's going to make the biggest commission for himself - regardless of its true value or worth.
Both of these stereotypes tend to have something in common—in the long run, neither of these salesmen is likely to have the success he was hoping for. These guys burn bridges. They take advantage of people. And in the end, the market chews them up and spits them out.
Let me contrast the pictures above with MY OWN experience - the experience of selling with INTEGRITY. Way back in the day, when I was still pretty new at Merrill Lynch, there was a big account I was trying to get (we're talking millions of dollars big). The guy in charge of this account was being courted by a lot of people.
I wanted this account BADLY. At this point in my life, it meant a lot to me and my family. But rather than let that intimidate me, when I'd speak to this guy, I was just totally HONEST. I tried to never be late for a meeting with him, but if I did see that I was going to be late, I would call him. I would give him the reason, and I NEVER made up an excuse! When I told him I would do something, I DID what I'd SAID I would do. I never tried to sell him the house funds. If I thought something would be a bad investment, I would TELL HIM! I always spoke truthfully to him, even when (especially when) I thought that he wouldn't like what I had to say.
When I got $12 million of his business, he told me that he chose me because of my INTEGRITY!
It might not have felt great in those moments to be brutally honest with that guy, but it sure DID feel great landing $12 million in new business!
Men, the way to be successful in business is to have INTEGRITY. Treat your clients or customers honestly and fairly - the way YOU would want to be treated! Good customers want advisors and vendors they can TRUST! They do NOT want YES MEN, who will tell them anything to make a sale!
So, let me ask you a few questions (just hit reply to this email to respond; I really do read and appreciate all your answers).
How do YOU make money in business? How have you been successful by sticking to your values in a tough situation?
Living and Leading by Example,
P.S. If you're not crazy about the work you're doing now, it's time to change that. The 13 Codes Academy is opening for enrollment in just a few short weeks, and I'm going to show you exactly how you can find work that fills your soul AND your wallet. Make sure to stay tuned and grab your spot as soon as the doors open - they'll go quickly!