In a business, fine line exists between practices that are ethical and unethical many practices are considered unethical or simply improper to carry out and they should be punished. Such practices have become the norm where people do anything to keep their sales up or be relevant in this field. The main slogan in business is that the end justifies the means so agents do anything to get a buck from the client. It is unfortunate the sometimes even people who are supposed to keep standards and ethics in business are condoning these practices and sometimes being involved in unethical practices.
In today’s world one does not look too far to notice the blatant and many cases of erosion of standards and values in business. The trend is worrying and sometimes results in scandalous court suits that damage the reputation of the organization. When profits become the only concern for business it becomes very likely for it to engage in this unethical practices (Weiss, 2008). Violation of business values and integrity is not the preserve of medium and small businesses; even large companies have been caught in the act. Some major leading companies in the world have been involved in unethical practices as Toyota being forced to recall millions of cars because they ignored safety standards.
When I was a sales and marketing agent in a certain company, we were required to sell the company’s products by any means necessary. These were instructions given to the sales agents by the supervisor who demanded that we reach a set amount of sales from every agent. The role of the sales and marketing agent is to sell on behalf of the business, give correct information to a customer about the products, and answer the queries of the customers concerning the products, implement best practices when selling the products and services.
For any startup company with products that are unproven in the market, selling the company’s products can be an uphill task for any sales agent regardless of their experience. To close deals, I got involved in so many unethical practices, in the time that I worked for the company. One of the unethical practices was misrepresenting products and promotions in order to close the deal. I deliberately provided information that was not accurate about the products and I was instructed to say what the customer wanted to hear about the products. Consequently, the sell up percentages and acquisition rates increased in the short run but there were minimal customer retention rates (Ethics, 2007).
Skipping important disclosures on contract commitment was another unethical practice that I perfectly knew how to execute when selling the products of the business. As you know customers hate to be tied to commitments without their knowledge because such practices upsets the customers and reduce their trust on the business. As long as I closed a deal I cared less about the values and best practices that should be the pillar of any transaction. Initially, I felt that it was not the right thing to do because we were not doing the right thing.
Making commitments and promises to customers that I knew the company’s product development team could not fulfil another unethical product that I practiced. Sometimes I would promise a customer that the product would be serviced after a set period in line with the company’s maintenance policies which were not true. Customers would buy the products because of such statements and afterwards realize that it was not possible for such an arrangement. In a business that values profits more than anything else this was an ordinary practice which the executives knew about and did not take any punitive action because the sales were positive. Unethical business practices like these finally led to customer dissatisfaction resulting to low sales for the business.
In the long run, there were so many complaints that emerged on the customer satisfactions and the also how we provided wrong information on the merchandises that did not live up to the required standards. I look back at those moments with many regrets and wish that I could have done what is required of a good sales agent. I tried to adjust and sell the products while providing the customers with the correct information, but my supervisor insisted that I must keep my sales volume high by whatever means. For this reason, I was forced to resign because I could not continue giving wrong information to customers.
Confronted with a comparable situation in the future, I would choose to follow the guidelines and best practices of my line of work. The reason some businesses fail is due to practices like these, which leads to low sales in the long run. Customers feel tricked into buying a company’s products hence leading to low retention of existing customers and poor brand image. A sales agent is as good as his numbers, so most of them can do anything just to increase their sales, but I would choose to represent the product as it is without providing false information to the client.
Ethics, B. (2007). Business Ethics. New York: Cengage Learning.
Weiss, J. (2008). Business Ethics: A Stakeholder and Issues Management Approach. New York: Cengage Learning.