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Trick or treat

Since this is the Halloween season. It brought to mind the difference between salesmanship and suckers-baiter, promoter and deal-cincher, tricker or treater. Ethics require that in dealing with others, regardless of our position, we play the game honestly. Let me relate a story.

A few years back, we moved from northern Idaho to the Boise area. Because the individuals purchasing our home wanted the sound system left, the new home we were building would be without one.

The old system was not very good. Since part of my work is in music, the system needed to be better.

We went shopping. After visiting a number of furniture stores and listening to their systems, we ended up at a stereo shop. When we informed the salesman of what we wanted and how much we expected to pay, his comment was that we had an impossible dream. But, he was willing to show us what he had.

He sat us down in the listening room, took the CD we had brought, offered to play it through any system. In the process, he also played the CD over a system he felt we had described. He was right. Instead of the very inferior sound we left behind, here was a bright, beautiful reproduction of what was really on that CD.

We bought his recommendation at a price three times more than we had planned on spending.

Was our salesman ethical? Was he honest? Was he merely after a higher price? Was he thinking of himself or was he honestly trying to meet our needs? Was this a trick or a treat? Seven years later, would I make that same purchase from that same individual?

The answer is absolutely, yes. It doesn’t always work this way. I have had individuals help save money by recommending the opposite – a less expensive remedy than the one I proposed. The key is in the effort to meet the needs of the client, customer, or employee.

It doesn’t matter whether you are advising students or selling horseshoes, Ultimately, paying attention to the people you serve – everyone – brings the greatest satisfaction, success, and loyalty. Remember, this is not about you; it is about them.


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