When is it OK to cheat?

Readers of the Sunday Times may have read an interesting article in the magazine on 24th March about Donald Trump and how he plays golf (click here to access article). There are lots of examples of his breaches of golf etiquette from minor to major misdemeanours. Personally, I wasn’t particularly surprised by any of the stories, but the one item that caught my eye was the comment about his attitude to cheating – he assumes everyone is cheating so it’s OK to join in.

It made me think about how we all operate in business. Throughout my career there have been occasions where decisions had to be made which had an ‘ethical’ component. Very often the debate included a discussion about what the competitors do or what we expected them to do.

It’s easy from a distance to take the moral high ground and advocate a highly principled approach, but if your competitors really are setting their bar a bit lower, there is a risk of significant adverse consequences.

How do you stay true to your principles and minimise the risk?

In most cases the source of risk is customer misunderstanding. If your prospect or even existing customer doesn’t fully appreciate the full picture, they can be misled into making an ill-informed decision, being seduced by your less principled competitor. While it may be tempting to drop your own standards to complete on a ‘level playing field’ an alternative is to turn the popular cliché around and say “if you don’t want to join them, beat them’.

Can you educate your prospects to help them make better decisions? That can not only win you more business, but it also earns you respect from the customer for helping them make the right decision for them. An easy way to do this is to offer a free ‘buyer’s guide’ on your website.

To make this really effective, spend some time (or get someone else to spend time – https://aardvarkmarketingconsultants.co.uk/research/) talking to customers so you know what really matters to them.

If you want to be the Donald Trump of your market, that’s your choice – but you don’t have to. If you want to talk to us about retaining your principles and being successful, we would be delighted to take your call or answer your email.