Is the Job Morally Wrong?

James is looking to increase his income and is considering sales. However, he wonders if it's morally wrong for him to take a position that may put people in debt.

QUESTION: James in Cincinnati is looking to increase his income and is considering sales. However, he wonders if it’s morally wrong for him to take a position that may put people in debt. Dave gives James some guidelines for determining if a place is going to be worth working for.

ANSWER: No, it is not morally wrong. It may be wrong for you to take the position, and we’ll talk about that, but it’s not morally wrong. Morally means you are ethically doing something that you shouldn’t be doing, and I don’t believe that about a car dealer. My cousin’s a Chevy dealer. I don’t think he’s morally wrong. Another friend of mine owns a string of Pizza Hut restaurants. They take Visa for pizza. I don’t think that’s morally wrong.

The question is, as a sales guy, you need to be able to be unbelievably enthused and excited and passionate about three things when you get ready to sell. Number one is the quality and integrity of the company that you’re working for. Number two is the quality and the value of the product line or service. Number three is the methodology of delivery of the service. You just can’t feel like you’re screwing people when you sell to them.

I’ll give you another example. I endorse Window World in several markets. They sell replacement windows. They are high-quality, good replacement windows. A lot of people that put windows into their home finance them. You won’t hear Dave Ramsey telling you to do that. As a matter of fact, you’ll hear me telling you not to do that.

When Window World goes to someone’s home, they don’t go in selling financing, but they have it available. They are selling quality windows. Their pitch is not financing and there happens to be a window with it, their pitch is great windows. One possible option over here on the side of the plate is you might finance it.

You won’t have me endorsing that, but do you see the difference? It’s that versus some window companies that come in and basically sell financing and some windows go with it. Their opening pitch is about how your monthly payments will be less than what you save on your electric bill. They are hard-driving, financial things.

I would submit to you that you feel strongly enough about debt that you won’t be able to sell something that is primarily a financing process. Even if it is a good product and a good company, you’re going to get uncomfortable with that.

Let’s say that you were selling cars and the car is a great car and the company is a great company, but they just can’t seem to get the stinking car delivered. Eventually, you’d get tired of selling because people are selling a car and you know the customer won’t get the car on time. It makes it hard to sell when you know that if you have integrity.

You have to love the company, the product and the process. The process could include, over there in the corner somewhere, the possibility of some financing, but if you’re going to be pitching financing every day to make a living, you are going to be uncomfortable. That doesn’t make it immoral, it’s just talking about where James is.

I’m even a step further. I have taken the stand that you should not borrow money, and so for me to offer financing would be hypocritical. We don’t take credit cards in our store. We only take debit cards or your check online—that kind of stuff.

I couldn’t even open a restaurant that takes credit cards as an owner of the restaurant because of who I am. But I’m way over there on the edge of this discussion. I have to take that stand—it would be inconsistent otherwise, and immoral if you want to take it that far. But I think immoral is too strong a word to use in this discussion.

I just want you to be enthused about the quality of the product, company and process. So enthused that it makes it easy for you to sell it. Because then you believe in it. You’re not really selling then, you’re just serving. You feel like everyone should have one of these products because they’re awesome. If you don’t believe that, you need to sell something else.