Back to the Basics

Marilyn Mackenzie

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It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are many things that lead to success in life and in business. One is the development of good character traits, especially honesty.

Did you know. . .

That a twenty year study conducted at Harvard concluded that parents who want their children to succeed in life will teach them strong moral values?

Or that the late J. P. Morgan once said that character was the best bank collateral?

Or that William Lake is quoted as saying,

One of the most important lessons that experience teaches is that on the whole success depends more upon character than either intellect or fortune?

That a study of 350 sales people from a variety of companies and industries was conducted, and when it was finished, the difference between top producers and average producers had nothing to do with skill, knowledge or ability? The difference was attributed to honesty! People who were top producers sold more because people trusted them.

Did you also know. . .

In Japan, children are instructed from kindergarten through high school each day about honesty, character, integrity, hard work, optimism, enthusiasm, responsibility, thrift, free enterprise, patriotism and respect for authority. When they finish school, they are trained and ready to start building their careers.

Conversely, our U. S. kids are not often taught such things in school, for fear that teaching values and character might be misconstrued as religious education. Even when such courses are offered, they are not consistently offered for one hour each day each and every day from kindergarten through high school. Our children are also learning values on a daily basis from television, music, movies and video games.

The average child in the U. S. spends more than three hours being entertained for every one hour invested in being informed. Is it any wonder that our kids are not prepared to work when they take their first jobs?

And did you know. . .

That customer service, in most industries, is a thing of the past? Or that college students, now more than ever are cheating on tests, buying term papers, and some are doing the very least they can do in order to graduate?

As a regional sales manager for a direct sales/home party plan, I taught my sales managers the importance of honesty, integrity and character and asked that they convey the importance of these things to their own sales groups. Time and again, we reaped the rewards.

One year our company sold a walking, musical reindeer for almost $20. A national chain had a similar item for under $10. They looked identical in pictures. I purchased one of the discount store's reindeers so I could show my sales representatives the differences. Our model was of higher quality. The music was not as “tinny" as the one available in local stores. And the one sold locally had fur much too big for its body. It looked as if it were wearing its big brother's hide.

I pointed out those differences to my sales representatives, so they could pass on the information to their customers. We jokingly told customers that if they were buying the musical reindeer for a treasured grandchild, then perhaps ours would be a wiser purchase. But, if they were buying the reindeer for their pet dog to chase around the room (and some did!), the discount store's model might be a better choice. We sold record numbers of musical reindeer that year.

Another time, a pharmacy chain featured an item identical to one in our line of merchandise, and sold it for less than half of what we sold it for. It was obviously being offered as a “loss leader" item. That item, featured in all of their circulars, did bring traffic to their pharmacies. And, once there, we all know that people bought more than just that one item! I instructed my sales people to tell their customers to buy that item at the pharmacy and not from us. We sold very few motion-sensitive musical Santas that year.

That same year, our company offered some absolutely beautiful glass ornaments. I advised my sales reps. to discourage their customers from purchasing them, because a vast majority of them were broken in shipment.

Because of the honesty and integrity of my sales team, our overall sales increased over 30 percent that year, despite the fact that some of the company's best selling items were not being sold in our area! Across the board that same year, the company showed only a 3% increase, and some districts and regions showed decreases in sales.

Marilyn Mackenzie has been writing about home, family, faith, business and nature for over 40 years. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.Facsimile.Com/ which is a site for Fax Machines .


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