Influence does not mean attempting to coerce a customer into behaving one way or another. Rather, influence comes from integrity and trust. Integrity is the foundation of trust, and trust is the lubricant of commerce.
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Success in and through ethics
Successful companies aim high in every aspect of business—ethics included.
In order to gain and maintain the trust of your customers, you first need to build a strong company-wide reputation for integrity. Developing an excellent corporate responsibility policy is great, upholding it is even better and if this can be seen inside and outside the company, then you’re well on the path to success.
But to truly develop trust with your customers though, your company has to walk the walk. Any activity engaged in with a customer must be fair and defensible—no exceptions.
How to develop company-centred ethics
Begin with a decent company-wide set of rules that all suppliers, vendors, directors and employees must adhere to.
Most OCED countries have a legal standing for human rights, labour, health and safety, the environment as well as business conduct. These must be implemented into your workplace, there are no excuses.
Once retailers and suppliers know that your company lives by a principled code of conduct—and the policies that result from that code—you’ll be able to build a business relationship upon that foundation of trust.
When a company upholds ethical behaviour inside and out—when they walk the walk—then they establish a solid foundation of trust.
They strengthen their reputation and encourage business transactions and partnerships. It's a fine line to balance; the need for top line growth while maintaining ethical principles. Whatever a management team can do to foster that trust with customers, with suppliers, or with whomever they’re dealing with, is only to their long-term benefit.
If you walk the walk and lead from the front, over time your business relationships will improve and ultimately you will win more business.
Find out more about driving your company towards success in our management guide to employee engagement. Download it now for free.