Apple’s Biblical Sales Rule: Be Transparent with Bad News (Video)

Video / Produced by partner of TOW

Apple’s VP of International, John Brandon, brought biblical principles into the sales culture a multi-billion-dollar company. In this video he explains one of his rules of success which secretly comes from the Bible: transparency.


One of the reasons why Tim Cook and Steve Jobs wanted me to join Apple is to help change the sales culture. They had had some ethical problems in the previous year and a half. And so I came in and said, “Alright, I’ll change it. But I’m going to change it my way.”

I actually had something that’s affectionately known as “JB’s 10 rules of success.” If you saw the rules, you’d see they’re all based on biblical principles. From my earliest days as a sales leader, that’s what I always teach and train my team in. So much so, that many of my worldwide organizations would keep them on their belt with their badge.

What it did is it gave them principles to think about how we wanted them to act when it wasn’t so clear what they should do. We just raised the bar about how we wanted them to treat people, how we wanted them to treat customers, how we wanted them to think about the business. For the most part, it really worked.

Here’s a perfect one: We want to know the bad news sooner than later. What many times happens in a sales environment is something starts to go wrong: You start to lose a customer; the customer is unhappy; there’s a problem with the product. And many times the sales person is encouraged to misrepresent that, or to hide it and try to fix it themselves.

That’s normally when you get into real problems. But if you create an environment that they can tell you bad news from day 1, and you don’t shoot the messenger, and you actually want to come alongside and help, it changes the whole tenner. Especially as a senior manager, what you hear is what’s actually happening. It creates a whole new level of trust, integrity, transparency.

People need to know it’s okay to tell the truth and it’s okay to tell it soon, not when things are on fire.

Watch the full film Faith At A $700 Billion Company from the Faith & Co. film series from Seattle Pacific University.

This video serves as an illustration to the TOW Bible Commentary article Transparency (2 Corinthians 1:12-23).