Business almost always involves selling, which seems like a straightforward, simple task. But underneath the surface, selling is a highly complex skill that often involves values, trust and emotion. It is also about building relationships; the more we understand the needs of our clients, the better opportunity we have to give them what they need.
There is also an ethical aspect to selling – which can sometimes get in the way of our need for financial security. For example, suppose you are working with a client who is reliable, loyal and very high maintenance. This might mean they require extra time and effort. They might make demands that push your boundaries and create tension and stress in your life. If you do your job well, the client is satisfied – but you go home filled with tension and angst.
One line of thought about this situation is that you need to get a grip on your emotions and keep doing your job. Another line of thought is that the emotional toll is dissipating some of your energy, reducing your effectiveness with other clients.
So, the question becomes, what do you do? The answer, like many in life, is not clear-cut. If maintaining this client has been an essential part of your financial bottom line, here is what you need to ask yourself: Can I change my strategy with this client to communicate my needs in this business relationship? Do I want to continue working with this client? Can I find other clients to supplement or replace the financial gain I would lose without this client?
I think it is important to weigh the amount of “money” in your emotional and ethical bank against the amount of money in your financial bank. An important factor in maintaining well-being in our personal and professional lives is aligning our principles and values with our behavior and actions.
At Chabad.org, in the article “Radically Jewish Business Ethics,” writer David Weitzner closes with this thought: “An authentically Jewish approach to business ethics believes that businesses can do well while being good. Be mindful of your strategy, and be mindful of the greater narrative that you will one day have to relay. Are you creating more opportunities for business, opening doors for more people to join the transactions?
“Are you playing your role as authentically as possible, whether you are a buyer or a seller, a lender or a borrower? The moral good that comes from business activities done well is as real and meaningful as the moral good that may come from anywhere else. That is business b’emunah.”
In “What is Emunah?” by Tzvi Freeman, posted at Chabad.org, the writer states that emunah is generally translated as “faith” or “belief.”
“Emunah … is an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason. Quite the contrary, wisdom, understanding and knowledge can further enhance true emunah. Nevertheless, emunah is not based on reason. Reason can never attain the certainty of emunah, since, reasonably speaking, a greater reasoning might always come along and prove your reasons wrong.
“In this way, emunah is similar to seeing first hand: Reason can help you better understand what you see, but it will have a hard time convincing you that you never saw it. So too, emunah endures even when reason can’t catch up.”
PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She has served on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.