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What do you Do?

Frank Bucaro

You're on a sales call and a key customer says she won't buy from you unless you match a competitor's offer. The competitor's offer includes a 10 day cruise to the Bahamas for her and her husband. What do you do?

Everyday sales people are faced with ethical challenges to doing business. A definition of ethics might help us analyze this a little better.

Ethics is a tough decision with the payoff at the end, whereas an unethical decision is an easy one with the payout up front.

The unethical salesperson would match the competition's offer. It would be an easy decision and the payout is upfront. However, one needs to look beyond this one sale to how it will affect future sales with this customer.

If a salesperson makes the offer this time, what will the customer expect the next time she wants to buy?? The salesperson has "set the standard," for how business is to be conducted and how far will the salesperson go to keep the business?? At what cost? For how long? And now the salesperson is trapped.

A company's ethics and integrity are based on the relationship between the salesperson and the customer. How does one build an ethical foundation that will make a lifelong customer, and avoid situations like the one mentioned? Here are three "ethics questions" that may help in decision-making.

Who does my decision affect?

Not only does this decision to match the offer affect the P&L issues, but it also affects:

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