Integrity Selling for the 21st Century

Sales Book Review Integrity Selling for the 21st CenturyIntegrity Selling for the 21st Century

Book by: Ron Willingham

Summary by: Rob Reed


Introduction – Integrity Selling

The phrase, “selling is an inside job” captures the essence of Integrity Selling for the 21st Century by Ron Willingham. It looks at the internal attitudes that drive selling and buying behavior, including internal emotions, beliefs, and psychological needs. According to author Ron Willingham, “Customers want to do business with people they can trust. That’s why strong ethics and values contribute more to selling success than strategies and techniques.” Sellers who agree with this statement will find this book an excellent read.

The biggest takeaway is the Congruence Model, which states that five factors and their level of congruence with each other determine success in selling:

  • View of selling
  • View of your abilities
  • Values
  • Commitment to activities
  • Belief in your product.

Subject matter changes frequently within chapters, making for a choppy read. While some material in the book repeats information and ideas found in other sales books, these sections serve as a useful review.

Overall, this book is very consistent with an ethical selling philosophy. It provides a great deal of valuable information, and I recommend it highly.

Integrity Selling for the 21st Century – Summary

In Integrity Selling for the 21st Century, Ron Willingham defines integrity as “The quality of being complete, whole, sound. The quality of living out sound moral principles, uprightness, honesty, sincerity.” This may seem a little too touchy-feely to be practical, but Willingham takes it to this very pointed statement:

“Before you present solutions, you must ask yourself, ‘Is what I have the best solution for this person’s needs or wants?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ you have a professional responsibility to show and tell them how you can help. If the answer is ‘no,’ then you have a professional responsibility to tell them that what you’re selling isn’t the best solution for them. This is called “integrity.”

According to Willingham, integrity selling is “a win-win customer-focused process, driven by honesty and sincerity; creating mutual value for sellers and buyers.”

Six Steps to Selling

The author builds the book around a six-step system of selling: Approach, Interview, Demonstrate, Validate, Negotiate, and Close. Willingham alternates chapters on these topics with chapters covering issues that affect these activities. For example, he pairs the chapter on the interviewing step with a chapter on developing interviewing skills.

You probably have heard some of the advice contained in this book. For example, Willingham says you should “welcome objections.” However, he puts such selling maxims in the context of a structured approach that digs beneath the process of selling to address the human reactions that drive it.

Willingham ends each chapter with a section entitled “How to Gain the Most from This Chapter.” In these sections, he gives specific steps for practicing the material covered in the chapter.

Willingham’s approach rejects any approach that seeks to manipulate others. Instead, he explains how to work within a set of values that supports honest, trustworthy selling. He also shows how to learn about and understand customer needs so you can successfully meet them.

The Sales Congruence Model

Willingham is particularly interested in the factors that influence salespeople. He assembles five factors into a model, asserting that all five must be in congruence for you to reach…[Please click to learn how to get the rest of this sales book review and much more.]