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4.4 Review and Practice

Power Wrap-Up

Now that you have read this chapter, you should be able to understand ethical behavior in selling as well as how to determine what the ethical decision is in a given situation.

  • You can understand why behaving ethically is important to selling.
  • You can describe how ethical decision making works.
  • You can identify different ethical pitfalls, including bribery and conflicts of interest.
  • You can understand how to locate and implement company policies.
  • You can implement ethical decision making in the workplace.
  • You can recognize an ethical challenge and know how to respond.
  • You can analyze a company’s ethics based on their mission statement and philosophy.
  • You can organize your work experience on a résumé in a way that is both honest and effective.
  • You can understand how to integrate references into your job search.

Test Your Power Knowledge (answers are below)

  1. What is ethical behavior?
  2. What is an ethical dilemma?
  3. What is an example of personal values?
  4. What is an example of corporate values?
  5. What is the purpose of a mission statement?
  6. Why is your reputation important?
  7. Explain how to determine a company’s policies on issues such as gifts, conflicts of interest, and so on.
  8. Define a “conflict of interest.”
  9. What is whistle-blowing?

Power (Role) Play

Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. Following are two roles that are involved in the same selling situation—one role is the customer, and the other is the salesperson. This will give you the opportunity to think about this ethical dilemma from the point of view of both the customer and the salesperson.

Read each role carefully along with the discussion questions. Then, be prepared to play either of the roles in class using the concepts covered in this chapter. You may be asked to discuss the roles and do a role play in groups or individually.

Ethics that Work

Role: Sales rep for Rold Gold, a fine jewelry wholesaler

You are a sales rep for Rold Gold, a jewelry wholesaler that specializes in high-end gold jewelry. The holidays are coming, and one of your best customers, the owner of an independent jewelry store, has sent you an expensive gift in appreciation for all that you have done to help her increase her business over the past year. Your employee handbook makes it clear that you could be fired for accepting it, but you didn’t actually accept it; it just turned up at your home, neatly wrapped, with a card attached. What will you do?

  • Since no one will know that you received the gift, should you just keep it?
  • If you decide to return the gift, what will you say to your customer?
  • Will you write a thank-you note?
  • If you decide to return the gift, what is the best way to do so?
  • What, if anything, will you tell your sales manager?

Role: Owner, Jewels to the World jewelry store

You are the owner of a popular jewelry store. It has been a challenging year given the state of the economy. One of your sales reps has really gone above and beyond the call of duty to help you increase your business throughout the year with extra training, cost reductions, and promotional ideas. You want to let him know that you appreciate all he does to support your business, so you send him a very generous gift. You are not aware of any reason he wouldn’t accept it. Nonetheless, you have it sent directly to his home to avoid any appearance of impropriety. You would be extremely disappointed if he didn’t accept your gift.

  • What will you say when the sales rep calls to thank you for your gift?
  • If the sales rep decides not to accept the gift, will you insist that he keep it?
  • If the sales rep doesn’t accept your gift, will it have an impact on your relationship?
  • Will you expect special pricing and other deals in return for your gift?

Put Your Power to Work: Selling U Activities

  1. Identify at least one professor who might be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Approach him or her and make the request—be prepared to talk about your career aspirations. Be sure to choose a professor in whose class you received a good grade and who likely remembers you.
  2. What influences your values? Make a list of your values and try to determine their origin. Do they come from your parents, your church, or your own experiences?
  3. Use the Internet to find a company whose mission statement and values statement reflects your mission and values. Write a cover letter to that company explaining why you would be a good hire.

Test Your Power Knowledge Answers

  1. Ethical behavior is morality applied to specific situations; it is behavior that addresses your obligations.
  2. An ethical dilemma is a situation in which options are presented that may be right or wrong.
  3. Personal values include (but are not limited to) honesty, integrity, accountability, drive, determination, and sincerity.
  4. Corporate values may be the same as personal values, which may also include teamwork, open and honest communication, and diversity.
  5. The process and reason for creating a mission statement, whether it is for a person or a company, is the same: to develop a roadmap, a guide by which all future decisions will be made.
  6. When you work in sales, you are selling yourself; you will have greater success with customers if you are someone they want to “buy.” When a customer buys from you, they are investing in your reputation.
  7. The employee handbook will outline the company’s policies concerning gift giving, nondisclosure of company information, and other areas of behavior.
  8. A conflict of interest is “a situation in which a person, such as a public official, an employee, or a professional, has a private or personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective exercise of his or her official duties.”
  9. Whistle-blowing is the act of publicly exposing the misconduct of a company or organization.