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Business Ethics Battlefield

February 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 152

As the most controversial person in the screen printing industry, you can imagine that I have had to learn a few things the hard way. In sales and in life, perception is reality. Your competitors will often say or do anything to sway a buyer away from your product or service and in the direction of their own. If you have chosen to associate with better products than your competitors, then it becomes very difficult for those competitors to argue the merits of their products above yours. So often in this type of situation, your competitors will resort to attacking your business/personal ethics. If this is your competitors' only ammunition in "the battle" for market-share, then by positioning your "ethical arsenal" from a superior vantage point you have already "won the war." Below I have outlined some key concepts to keep in mind in "the business battlefield" when situations with your competition publicly challenge your ethics.

Show Responsibility for Your Actions

Put up or Shut up!

NEVER run from your past ethical breaches, we all make mistakes. Remember the cover up is always worse than the crime. It does not take long to discover exactly which "skeletons in your closet" that your competition will be using as ammunition to frighten your customers away. If there is a certain ethical mishap that seems to repeatedly kill your deals, bring it up before your competition has a chance to use it against you. Cut-throat competitors and disgruntled former coworkers can churn out a lot of damaging theories about the motives underlying your past mistakes. You must be ahead of your own ethical blunders before your reputation becomes the focus of every conversation. Take responsibility proactively and earn the client's respect:

raise all market objections and be prepared to offer resolution by demonstrationput potential buyers at ease by controlling the sale, and know in advance that the competition is going to attacklarge commitment purchases are about relationship, therefore "closing pressure" is perceived as a NEGATIVE not a positivelet the competition be the ones trying to pressure the buyer

The "Little Black Dress" Mentality

Dress for Success!

We all have different internal perceptions of ourselves, just as other people will each have a different perception of us external to our control. Feeling good about yourself is a giant step in projecting an important ethical persona. Let's face it, knowing right from wrong is not as easy for some as it is for others. So think of your business ethics as your little black dress. You know... the one outfit you would put on if you were going out for the night with a potential suitor for life. We would all like to think of ourselves as good people; however our internal reality may not equate to the external perceptions of our coworkers, vendors, and most importantly our customers.

wear your most flattering "ethical outfit" that is still comfortable (don't be fake)project confidence, yet do not over-promise or under-delivervulnerability can be a valuable asset, never pretend to have all the answers

Your Industry Olympics Score Card

And the Russian Judge Gives You a 3.7!

Knowing your critics is important, but it is more important not to create more. Be cognizant of how you will be judged in every situation. Even the smartest of people will judge you based on your words, appearance, and timing, not necessarily on your actions or intentions. Pretend that every person you meet in business is an Olympic judge holding a series of numbered placards to declare your ethical score to the world.

Conflict of Interest

I am sure your sister is a great kisser but she is still your sister!

No matter the circumstance a conflict of interest should be avoided like a cheap suit. Breaching certain ethical barriers is like coming back from lunch with a food stain on your shirt. It looks bad and by mid-afternoon it really starts to stink! If your supplier is offering you extra work or more orders in exchange for purchasing their products, then it will not be long before those print jobs will be offered to the next potential client. If you sell machinery, then you do not barter print jobs for sales leverage. If this is one of your ideas for a sales tactic, FORGET IT! DON'T DO IT! Who wants to do business with a salesperson who could potentially steal your orders for another print shop? For that matter, if an employee from your potential client's facility approaches you for a payout to steer the sale your way, steer clear of this sale entirely! Someone with a bent moral compass will certainly lead you in the wrong direction when it comes to your ethical business ventures. Stay above board. Keep your own moral compass pointed North so your business does not start heading South. Which brings me to my next point...

Guilt by Association

Before You Study the Menu, Choose the Right Companion!

Being compromised can be a choice. Guilt by association is still guilt in the eyes of the ethics police. Do your research and establish your own ground rules:

HOW you will conduct yourselfWHY you are in businessWHAT you stand forWHERE you want to beWHO you will engage

Sex, Politics, and Religion

Steer clear of these types of conversation!

Nothing like a clergy member caught with a goat and a senator (not necessarily in that order). People have diverse backgrounds (and diverse backyards for that matter). Learn that the best ethics can be vanilla and bland toast. The general rule of thumb is this... if you are "into" dogs, then don't do it in my yard and it better not be with my dog.

Healthy Social Networking

#screenprinting #tshirt OMG, LOL, LMAO!

When it comes to marketing and promotions, internet search engines can be your best friend or your worst enemy. A negative comment, a misinterpreted forum post, an internet troll mimicking your screen name and persona... these are all seemingly small occurrences that can exponentially become magnified in a very short time frame. Social networking can be your greatest asset when battling any negativity online or otherwise. Twitter, FaceBook, Google+, YouTube, etc. can extend your circles of influence far beyond the reach of your competitors' negativity. Stay positive and remember that you reap what you sow. Let your competitor be the one sowing seeds of negativity.

Your reputation matters!

Managing negative ethical perceptions in high pressure sales situations can be exhausting or empowering depending on how you choose to react in your particular business ethics battlefield, it is up to you, not others, to decide who wins. Do not be a victim, be a leader, and set an example.

Robert Barnes of Spider Machines has been dedicated to the screen printing industry for over 20 years and specializes in automatic screen printing presses from M&R, MHM, TAS, Printex, RPM Revolution / Progressive Rhino / Mustang Printers, and Anatol. Robert Barnes is the founder and designer of the Progressive Falcon line of automatic screen printing presses. Robert Barnes sold Progressive to Workhorse Products in June of 2005.

Source: EzineArticles
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