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The business of sales involves the exchange of a good or service for money or other type of payment. Sales can be private, like a person selling his own car, or commercial, like purchasing an item from a store. When consumers seek information about or purchase an item, they expect the selling party to act with their best interests in mind.
Individuals in the sales industry, according to the Direct Selling Association (DSA), assume responsibilities to their customers due to the personal nature of sales interactions. They have standards of conduct they must promote because society and other organizations expect this, according to the American Marketing Association (AMA). The values expressed in the code of ethics for sales reflect moral ideals and serves as a guide that is consistent with legal requirements against which sales professionals can weigh themselves and others.
The conduct of sales professionals should never purposefully be malicious, deceptive or unlawful. According to the DSA, a sales person needs to state at all times honest facts about a service or product’s price, quality, performance, value and availability. Customers must be given written terms of sales at the time of a sale, and the order must be written clearly and legibly.
The values represented in the code of ethics for sales include honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect and transparency, according to the AMA. Sales professionals should always be honest about the products and services offered, as well as honor promises and commitments made to customers. They are responsible for meeting the needs of customers, protecting private information and acknowledging obligations to stakeholders. Sales professionals should represent their products and services in a way that is clear, not misleading and free from conflicts of interest. Sales professionals should always understand and treat clients fairly regardless of race, gender, religion and so on. In addition, sales professionals should always disclose risks regarding products or services and their prices.
When a consumer makes a complaint, sales professionals should investigate the claim. If the complaint is about a sales professional, the company she represents should promptly investigate the claim. Sales professionals should always be up to date on laws that apply to their area of sales and ought to communicate such laws to clients when appropriate. Individuals working in a sales position must always maintain client confidentiality and protect client privacy at all times per the guidelines set forth by the company they represent and the law.
California State University’s College of Business Administration states a sales professional’s behavior has the potential to affect others in organizational relationships. As a result, it is vital that sales professionals complete on time all obligations outlined in contracts or mutual agreements. Sales professionals must never cause harm to colleagues by manipulating or taking advantage of a situation for their own benefit, nor should they take credit for work they did not do.
Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.