By Pat Hinds
U.S. billionaire banker, Allen Stanford, was recently accused of an 8-billion-dollar fraud; the alleged fraud of the 58-year-old Texan came to light because of the slump in the U.S. economy and the collapse of global stock markets. His bank’s stated returns were suspiciously smooth and impressive; consistently in the low double digits for over a decade, with a loss of just 1.3 percent last year, when stock markets around the world crashed. I watched an interview on television with James Stanford, Allen’s father, and he stated that his son was outgoing, determined and aggressive; he also stated that he hoped his son would do the right thing by turning himself in to the authorities.
Listening to Allen Stanford’s father speak made me remember the early lessons from my father, Irv Hinds, when I was first starting in sales. My dad’s background was in retail sales, and in the early 1980’s he opened and ran several computer stores in Calgary. I started working for him on the retail sales floor and moved to the outside sales team as I got more experience. My dad is a very honest man; he believes in treating the customer with respect and never misrepresenting yourself or the product you are selling.
If you have been a professional sales person for any length of time, you realize that you have the opportunity to misrepresent yourself and your product. Company management and customers have expectations of sales people, and the pressure to deliver results can cloud your judgement. Sales can also provide people the opportunity to make a significant amount of money if you know how to solve problems for customers. The pressure and the money can test the moral fibre of people who enter the sales field.
My father’s lessons of having integrity and honesty have served me well in my sales career. If the allegations are proved true against Allen Stanford, they are a reflection of what can go wrong in sales if an individual is not committed to honesty and the truth. I am sure James Stanford taught his son the difference between right and wrong, but it is up to the individual to use his or her moral fibre to make the right decision.