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Laziness, Petty Theft Run Amok in Sales Teams

**Editor’s Note: What’s your craziest story about dishonesty in sales? Tell us in our comments section.**

Do you know any dishonest salespeople? Do you work with someone who fakes appointments, ruins leads with bad manners or quits after making commission?

A recent study says there’s a 90 percent chance you do – which means that a lot of you reading this are guilty of such malfeasance.

Protecting.co.uk, a British consulting group, reports a laundry list of transgressions it uncovered from surveying members of sales teams. The sins range from sheer laziness to what the survey calls “theft” – faked appointments and forged expense reports. Seventy percent of surveyed workers said they or their colleagues had done something dishonest.

“It’s terrible, because most sales staff are hard-working types,” spokesperson Mark Hall said. “But there’s a core that are a law unto themselves …”

The consulting group puts a cost on these iniquities: up to 60 percent annual growth lost.

Half of the respondents said they had falsified their mileage claims in some way during the last year.

“One salesman told us he’d regularly see fake clients all the time, simply because it was a sunny day and he fancied a day at the coast paid for by the boss,” said Jonathan Ratcliffe, a spokesperson for a car-leasing firm. “Sometimes, this included evening meals and an overnight stay.”

Others suffered from admittedly choosing not to follow sales leads or up-sell. Some blew leads because they didn’t follow proper etiquette. Another lazy tactic: Quit working after earning commission.

“One salesman boasted that he could hit his monthly target in 15 days, and then effectively take the rest of the month off,” Hall said.

Lest you think the sample size for this survey was small, Protecting.co.ok interviewed 1,200 people – so unless they’re all talking about the same few people, the vast majority of salesmen and women have some explaining to do.

“Every salesperson has battle tales of epic sells and enormous commissions,” Hall said. “But if you delve a little deeper, they’ve also got stories of fantastic skives and dreadful scams.”


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