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Honesty and Integrity: The Key to Business Success and Long-term Revenue Growth

In this special episode, host Jon LaClare shares a deeply personal and touching story about his father, passing on a valuable life lesson about honesty and integrity. Jon reflects on the impact his father's legacy has had on his own business decisions and offers insightful lessons on the importance of integrity in business and life. Join us as we delve into the profound influence of personal values on professional success and uncover the lasting impact of integrity in every aspect of business and leadership.


In today’s episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast, we’ll cover:

  • The importance of honesty and integrity in business success

  • Personal story of Jon’s father and the Honest Abe award

  • The impact of integrity on business relationships with clients, employees, and business partners

  • How the character and reputation of a business can affect a company's performance


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Or, click to watch the full video interview here!


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Prefer reading instead of listening? Read the full transcript here!


Are you looking for new ways to make your sales grow? You've tried other podcasts, but they don't seem to know harvest the growth potential of your product or service as we share stories and strategies that'll make your competitors nervous. Now here's the host of the Harvest Growth podcast, Jon LaClare.

Jon LaClare:

Today's podcast is going to be a little bit different from what I normally do. Rather than interviewing a guest of a successful business, I'm going to talk about my dad. So my dad actually passed away about a week and a half ago. We had his funeral this past weekend, and of course it was a sad affair. I missed my dad, but it gave me the chance to really think back and ponder on all the things I've learned from him. And I want to share one important tenet with you today, which is honesty and integrity. Now I want to show you something. You'll notice this in future podcasts as well.

In my new background, I got this from my dad. So this is what he called, or what he received was the honest Abe award. So this he received in 1980, a long time ago. I won't tell you how old I was. I was pretty young back then. But what it was for is my dad received two paychecks. This is back in 1980, back before computer systems were as reliable probably as they are today, and I imagine it would have gone unnoticed. He could have kept both paychecks.

He was in sales. He could have argued for it, that he deserved it because of all the hard work he did. But instead, he called the company and let them know. Now, the interesting thing is his boss at the time and who he worked for or with for over 30 years after that point, actually spoke at his funeral and still remembered that story from so long ago. This is one of the things I asked for when my dad, when he knew he was at the tailing days of his life, because it's such a good memory for me. He won a lot of awards over the years in sales for various forms of success, a lot of it revenue driven. He was a great salesman. But this is the one that really stood out to me the most, was his honesty and integrity.

And I want to talk about some learnings on how that really is important, not just with my relationship with my dad, but important in business in general. I'll rewind a little bit of my career back to my time when I worked at Oxiclean with Billy Mays. Now, one of the interesting things about Billy is he was the consummate pitchman. He was the greatest salesman, arguably, at least for tv ever. He was very successful, not just for Oxiclean, but eventually for dozens of other products that he really grew from nothing into millions of dollars in sales for many different categories and products over the years, I believe, and this is really backed up by market research focus groups we used to do. Studying the advertising with Billy back in the day, the biggest reason that stood out, he was loud. He got your attention. If you remember his videos, he had a great energy.

It broke through the clutter, whether it was on the news station or Disney. It was on all stations, really. It stood out because of his voice. But what people remembered and the reason they bought from Billy is they trusted him. So he was a pitchman, but they believed that he believed what he was selling. And that came through his honesty and his integrity. It's hard to hide. If you pay attention to other actors and pitchmen, there's a lot of really good ones.

But it's really hard to get that genuine appeal, that honesty and integrity to stand through. That was one big difference for him, for sure. Now, in reality, once you lose the trust of your customers, so let's say Billy or any other products we've worked on or you or you see in the marketplace, it can turn a corner if you start to be untruthful with your customers. It's really hard to get that back once you lose that trust. If Billy had a story break, like some other pitchmen have had over the years about his personal life, where people put things into question, it really would have killed his career as a pitchman. But he didn't. Right? He wasn't perfect. Right? But he was honest and had integrity.

Now it's just as important for us and our businesses, whether we're selling a product, a service, or ourselves, to keep that integrity going as part of our story of who we are and what our business is as well, and not lose that trust of our customers. At Harvest growth, my company, really, integrity is the number one thing we look for, whether we're considering new clients to work with or employees to hire. We've actually severed a few relationships over the years, both on the client side, actually, as well as a couple of employees that had integrity issues. They were great at their jobs in other ways, but you can't get past that. Once you prove that you lack integrity, it's really hard to change, right? That can go to your core. Having your integrity shine through in everything you do in your business can be so important. I will tell you, I believe one of the reasons we've had such a high success rate in a business that's really risky. We launch products and services, right? So we work with a lot of customers that are already in market and help them grow.

But half of what we do is launching new products and services that are in no revenue, zero revenue. We build them from scratch, and that can be a success rate of 5% sometimes as an industry wide. Now, our success rate is ten times that for a lot of reasons. I've talked about a few of them on this podcast over the years. But one core reason, I believe, for our success is that really the integrity of our clients, I believe, spills into their businesses. So if it's a product client, for example, when we get to know them, when we realize they have integrity, that's going to spill over in how they talk about their product, how they talk to their customers and who they are. In so many ways, that really leads to long term success. So one example that I've seen with many products over the years that's maybe easier to describe is with supplements, right? So pills, capsules, et cetera, you'll see a lot of big, successful, high revenue supplements on the market.

That kind of trick you, right? I don't want to call them dishonest. It's not the way it is. But as you get to their website, for example, you get a discount up front and then they lock you into this autoship or subscription program. Now, from a marketing perspective, that's a great idea, and we do that all the time. The big difference is when you have integrity, you are open about that, right? You are clear with your customer, making sure that they realize it, not trying to trick them. It's a minor difference. Now, if you make it less obvious, you'll sell a lot more upfront. And we've seen that where some of our campaigns in the very early days are less successful than they otherwise could be if we quote unquote, tricked them or really just hid it in the details, right, that they're signing up for something automatic or maybe not even revealing the price of what's going to come next as they get a 90 day supply, 30 days after they get their free sample or their first month or whatever it might be, and they're paying for that all at once.

So small things like that. We've seen big differences, again, lower sales in the very beginning. But every single one of these campaigns we've worked with has had longer term success or bigger sales over the longer term than the trickery, right? So trickery can only take you so far. You may get that second sale, but as you have a business where you're trying to get people to stay with you, buying every month after month after month, part of the story is to have integrity in your product. Make sure it works. People are happy with what they get, and part of it is that integrity or honesty in your relationship. And when they're happy with you and your product, but also your relationship, they stay with you for a much longer time. So the lifetime value of each of your customers can become that much greater, that much higher in terms of revenue per person.

That's just one example. It may be easier to describe in terms of getting integrity and honesty into your business. And I just wanted to mention this. I hope that as I reflect on my dad's life, I think about how grateful I am for his legacy that really lives on in every decision that I make in business and my family as well. I hope that you also have somebody that's that impactful on your own life. But today, at least, you can borrow some of the wisdom from my dad, and I hope this has been helpful for you. The point of being honest and having integrity in all that you do is not just about morality, but it's about overall lifetime success in so many ways. And that can include revenue as well over time.

But the most important is, of course, who you are as a person and as a business leader.


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