In a word: yes!
Conducting business in an ethical manner isn’t just about high-minded ideals. It’s about choosing to do the right thing, in real life, day after day. In doing so, our businesses can also reap powerful financial rewards.
In an increasingly competitive business landscape, companies are continuously challenged to stand out – and they typically answer this call via lower prices, costly product placements, promotional sales, or gimmicky advertising campaigns. These measures are transactional, and while they can sometimes work, they miss a more fundamental value proposition.
The Ethics/Profitability Paradox
It’s a common misconception that ethical business conduct dampens profitability, especially in a marketplace where unethical behavior can go unchecked. I can assure you that over the course of my 45-year business career – which has generated nearly a half-billion dollars in sales – I’ve found the precise opposite to be true.
In other words, you can do well – extremely well, actually – by doing good. Here’s a look at just a few of the ways I’ve seen this play out in the real world of business:
Build Customer Relationships
One of the foundational laws of sales is that it’s easier and more profitable to sell to an existing customer than it is to convert a sales prospect. Satisfied customers will want to purchase more from you and will often perceive your product as a higher quality. In other words, positive relationships tend to be profitable ones. It’s the time-honored power of repeat business. You’ll grow your customer base through referrals as your satisfied customers readily recommend their colleagues to you.
Grow Powerful and Authentic Branding
Ethical behavior generates both confidence and passion. This translates to a business owner and a brand that inspires trust: with employees, suppliers and customers. What better way to establish or strengthen a brand identity! Furthermore, satisfied customers require less costly marketing promotions to maintain their business.
Harness the Power of Social Media
In today’s customer-centric world, social media can be a double-edged sword. It can help a company build visibility on a global scale. But it can also empower customers to quickly – and sometimes brutally – take a company to task in a public forum, when they feel dissatisfied or mistreated. It’s easy to find great examples of this on Angie’s List, Yelp, TripAdvisor and myriad of other on-line review platforms. Bad behavior leads to bad reviews, which are of course, bad for business. But remember the opposite is equally true: when customers are treated ethically, they will often share that experience online as well. This can translate not only to good ratings but also a healthy, customer referral stream.
It’s A Matter of Trust
In sum, ethical sales and marketing empowers your company to build sales revenue and sustainable profits over the long-term, all on a foundation of trust. Such an environment will help you to thrive personally, professionally and financially.
In future posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into these and other areas relevant to business ethics.
Ethics is Smart Business