Respect is the foundation on which integrity is built. Respect for ourselves. Respect for our clients and other people. Respect for the interactions we have with them. When we respect ourselves and others we believe everyone has value and deserves to be treated fairly. When we respect an interaction – say, a sales interaction – we’re saying that interaction has value and we should act fairly within it.
The first person we should respect in a sales conversation is ourselves. Respect yourself and respect what you do! Recognize the time it took you to develop your skills and knowledge, to do the work on a project, to understand the needs of a client or colleague or boss. Give yourself the credit you earned and deserve, and use that credit to build your energy and passion. Especially use your self-respect to motivate you to ask for a thing you want – a sale, a job, a raise, a contribution – because you’ve earned the opportunity to ask. You deserve the opportunity to ask.
We need to respect our customers. This advice is obvious but the benefits are not. When we respect people, they will tell us what we need to do to make them say “yes”. When we respect people, we build relationships that will help us succeed for years to come. Clients and colleagues and bosses become rock-solid friends, friends become rock-solid professional partners.
Respect is important because respect is a feeling and feelings are
the most powerful communication tools we have as any storyteller (or marketing professional) will tell you. Feelings create instant connections with people. Feelings are memorable. Long after we have forgotten why we liked a childhood teacher, we remember we liked her. Feelings persuade. Emotions sell because emotions drive our decisions more than reasons do. People feel we respect them and respect ourselves, and they trust those feelings.
And please remember this insight. Respect is about the words “we” and “us” not the words “me” or “them.” When we build a relationship on respect, there are no sides. There is simply a collaboration in which each person has the natural expectation of being treated fairly and the natural responsibility to treat the other person fairly. Respect is a feeling, an attitude, and a commitment. When we express respect through our actions, people look us and say “he has integrity” and “she has integrity”.
When we do this, selling is easy. When we do this, selling is fun. When we do this, we don’t feel the least urge to apologize because we know we are selling the rightway. When I feel that I’ve really earned the trust of a client, I get excited – I even feel butterflies sometimes – because it is such a great compliment.