Ethics may be defined as the study of what is good and bad or what is right or wrong. It involves moral code conduct controlling the individuals and societies. People may differ sharply about what is ethical or unethical behaviour, especially in complex, competitive areas like business. Thus, in business areas, right or wrong decision making usually is based on economic criteria. Ethical dilemma can arises in a situation when each alternative choice or behaviour has some undesirable elements due to potentially negative ethical or personal consequences.
Right or wrong cannot be clearly identified. In this chapter, there are four subtopics that we need to cover that consist of: salesperson’s ethics in dealing with customers, salesperson’s ethics in dealing with their employers, salesperson’s ethics dealing with their competitors and also managing sales ethics. In the first subtopic for salesperson’s ethics in dealing with their employers, the salesperson should know that misusing the company asset is one of the right or wrong behaviour.
As everybody knows, the company assets are only be allowed to be use for official purpose only. Next, the ‘moonlighting’ attitude where some employees go beyond long lunch hours, taking personal phone calls and also excessive socializing to actually ‘moonlighting’ on part time jobs during the same hours they are supposed to be working for their primary employer. More than that, technology theft is also part of the salesperson’s ethics in dealing with employers. These days, every company provides their salesperson with computers, software and data on their customers.
When the salesperson quit or is fired, they can easily take advantage by taking the organizations customer records to use for their future benefits. Last but not least, affecting other salesperson is also the unethical practices of one salesperson where he or she affect other salesperson like they may take customers away from co-workers. In next subtopic salesperson’s ethics in dealing with customers, there are some important points that every salesperson should be alert and aware of. Bribe is where a salesperson may attempt to bribe a buyer by offering money, gift, etc. The salesperson can be charged under law if they do so.
Apart from that, misrepresentation can be in order to win the sale, some salesperson will promise much more than they can deliver with the idea that the customers will later accept some reasonable excuses. The following point is tie-in sales. It occurs when a buyer is required to buy other, unwanted products in order to buy a particular line of merchandise. Lastly, price discrimination. Many salespersons may practice price discrimination to improve their sales. Price discrimination refers to selling the same quantity of the product to different buyer at different prices.
The next section in this chapter is managing sales ethics, which is include; follow the leader, leader selection is important, establish a code of ethics, create ethical structures, encourage whistle-blowing, create an ethical sales climate and establish control systems. Follow the leader means the Chief Executives must set the example of bad and good ethics thus the employee will know better about the right ethics as salespeople. Management must also carefully choose managers with high levels of moral development, and this is what we called as leader selection.
Third is about establish a code of ethics, where a formal statement of company’s values concerning ethics and social issues. Beside that create ethical structures cab be divided into ethical committee which group of executives appointed to oversee company ethics and second is ethical ombudsman where official given the responsibility of corporate conscience that hears and investigates ethical complaints and informs top management to potential ethical issues. Encourage whistle-blowing is employee disclosure of illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practice on the employer’s part.
Also, the top level manager must support code of ethics to create an ethical sales climate. Lastly, establish control systems in managing the sales ethics means dismissal, demotion, suspension, reprimand and withholding of the sale commissions would be possible penalties for unethical sale practices. As an addition to this chapter we found salespeople’s ethics in dealing with their competitors beside of their ethics to customers and employers as mentioned above. Here we will discuss about several salespeople’s ethic in dealing with their competitors. Firstly, belittle the competitors publicly.
It is unethical to belittle the competitors by picturing their product as inferior or even shoddy and worthless. To gain the trust from customers, salespeople may even indicate that competitive products are better. Second is stealing shelf space. It also unethical to decease competitors’ share of shelf space placing competing products at back or crowding them together. Moreover, it could encourage the same action from competitors. Third is untruthful statement, where also unethical to salespeople to make untruthful stamen about their competitors and might ruin the salespersons’ reputation easily.
And finally tempering the competitors’ product which is not only unethical but also illegal for salespeople to damage competitors’ product, tamper with their displays and point of sale materials or reduce their product shelf space in retail store and elsewhere. In conclusion, to be an ethical salesperson we must to well known the good ethics that should be followed and what is the bad ethic that should be avoid. Salespeople that do the right things will success in future while part of them who do the wrong things might be fired one day or might face many problems especially law.