The Salesperson’s Dilemma
Many salespeople have told me a similar story. When the pressure to produce rises, they begin hearing their bosses instruct them, “If you get someone on the phone, tell them whatever you have to in order to close the sale.” In essence, these salespeople are commanded to lie to gain customers.
This creates a dilemma for those who desire to live out their faith with integrity and without compromising. They ask themselves, “Do I lie, or do I do the right thing and risk losing my job?”
Without a doubt, this is not a comfortable situation to be in. It would be easy to justify doing what they have been told. “After all, I need this job to earn a living.” But when striving to integrate our faith into our workplace responsibilities and demands, we need to consider what the Bible has to say.
For instance, in the Old Testament book of Proverbs we find many encouragements for being truthful – and warnings about the consequences of dishonesty. Proverbs 20:17 cautions, “Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel.” Does that sound appealing? Another verse tells us, “What a man desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar” (Proverbs 19:22).
On the other hand, Proverbs 10:9 declares, “A man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” A lie or even a misrepresentation of what we are able to do for a customer might give us temporary success, but deceit has a way of being discovered.
The Bible is filled with wisdom for how we should approach compromising and unethical situations. Consider just a few of the truths and promises we find in Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount:
Who are you really working for? As Christ’s followers, we report to an authority higher than whoever our boss might be. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Manna” (Matthew 6:24). A good question to ask ourselves is, “Who am I ultimately serving?”
God’s faithful provision. After this stern admonition, Jesus gave this assurance to His followers: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 25-34).
Ours for the asking. When tempted to lie to close a sale, we are relying on our own initiative rather than trusting in the timely response of God. Rather than lying or stretching the truth, why not pray and ask God for His direction? Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knows, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8)
When tempted to bend under pressure, it is important to remember that long-term customers are looking for someone steadfast and honest. It is better to earn less in the short-term, or lose a potential sale, than to become known as a liar. Regardless of the cost, stand firm in truth!
Copyright 2022, Unconventional Business Network. Adapted with permission from “UBN Integrity Moments”, a commentary on faith at work issues. Visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. UBN is a faith at work ministry serving the international small business community.