November 10, 2004
Your moral compass points in right direction
A customer where I work asked to be helped by one of
my colleagues, who wasn't there that day. He then approached
me for help, specifying that he was looking for a high-end
washer and dryer. I demonstrated several pairs that would
meet his needs. I must have spent more than 45 minutes
with this customer. I did everything I knew to be an
effective salesperson by establishing a rapport and demonstrating
my product knowledge on all of the appliances. It appeared
I built some trust because he asked for my opinions and
most importantly, "I closed the sale."
However, at the point of sale the customer approached
me asking if we worked on commission. I replied by saying
yes, and I would make sure that my colleague -- whom
he had asked for originally -- would receive full credit
for the sale. I also had promised my colleague I would
do this for her.
The customer then said, "No, I want you to have
the commission because you helped me choose my appliances.
All that your colleague did was answer the phone, confirming
that this company did sell appliances, clarifying the
Considering the customer's comment, what is the appropriate
action to take?
You know what you promised to your colleague. You also
appreciate the sincerity of the satisfied customer who
wanted to commend you for your thoroughness and professionalism.
How you choose to share your wealth is your decision.
An old friend reminded me that "what goes around
comes around." When individuals live with integrity,
being good for their word, they establish their values
(what they believe) and their standards, really their
character (how they conduct themselves, even when no
one is watching).
So, there is only one question to ask: What kind of reputation
do you intend to build? Once you answer this question,
you will know what to do with the commission.
The customer knows that you delivered knowledge, professionalism
and timeliness. You confirmed to the customer that you
earned the commission. Congratulations!
Your question of what to do reflects your own admirable "moral
compass" -- that internal set of operating principles
that guide your actions. A deal is a deal. A verbal handshake,
between and among integrity-centered individuals, is
as ironclad as an "attorney-worded" written
In this instance, you have chosen the high road because
you know that integrity (really) matters.
Be patient. Success is already yours. The economic
rewards will follow, because you are good for your
word. Any responsible leader would be proud to have
you as part of the team.