I’ve been cringing every time I’ve seen an ad for the upcoming film The Goods. If the commercials are any indication, the movie promises to reinforce every negative stereotype the world already has about salespeople being pushy, sleazy, manipulative, underhanded hustlers, willing to say or do anything to make the sale.

I don’t typically wish ill toward anyone, but I hope this movie dies a quick death. It would be great if it does very little business over opening weekend and disappears immediately, never to be heard of again. (And judging from the early buzz on the web, that could conceivably happen.)

Whenever a movie or TV show depicts salespeople as slimeballs, it further etches that image in the minds of buyers everywhere, causing them to distrust every salesperson they encounter. And sadly, too many sales training programs today still teach manipulative, heavy-handed approaches from yesteryear that justify that painful image in the prospect’s mind. All of which makes building rapport and trust more difficult than ever.

So what can you do to differentiate yourself from the stereotype of salesperson as scumbag? Start with the following:
    • Be respectful, polite and courteous
    • Ask good questions
    • Listen well
    • Be warm and genuine
    • Eschew high-pressure tactics
    • Deliver on your promises

While you’re at it, get yourself and your sales team some modern, enlightened sales training that will help you sell in a more ethical, virtuous manner. (Click here for details.) Everything you can do to distance yourself from the negative expectation your prospect has of you, makes your job—and the sale—easier.

Always remember: It’s better to be a good salesperson than to be a salesperson with “the goods.”