Business Lies are still Lies?

At a committee meeting the other day, we were discussing the large and ominous task of getting sponsors for a large raffle we’re doing for charity. One of the salespeople/volunteers who is not part of my company said she had great success in the way she was getting sponsors at the highest level of sponsorship. She went on to explain that when she went in to ask for sponsorship from a company, she told them that they could be an exclusive to their industry sponsor. It costs $X, and you get blah blah blah for your money. She would then leave and go to another business in the same industry and play them against each other.

When one would finally say they couldn’t afford that big (and we’re talking more than $5k to sponsor) expense, she would say, “Well, you’re in luck. They’ve just released a couple of other levels of sponsorship. Let me explain those to you.” I sat there thinking, “You big, fat, dirty liar, we have and have always had 3 levels of sponsorship.” Now, she was neither dirty nor fat, but she was quite obviously and disgustingly a liar. Nobody said anything about it. I didn’t speak up either, but I really wanted to stand up and walk out of the room and say something like, “Well, I love the idea of giving local kids scholarships for college, but I will not be associated with a group who promotes lying as a viable sales tool. My reputation and dignity is way too valuable to me. Good luck.”

I’m still a part of the committee, but its honestly taken my enthusiasm right out the window. I’ve toyed with the idea of resigning my position claiming that I’m too busy (which is not a stretch) but I do want to help get scholarships to area kids. Obviously, I am not required to use the aforementioned tactic and I most definitely won’t, but am I old fashioned, prudish even? Am I way off base? Is this sort of tactic okay in the business world? As a sales rep, I scream NO!

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3 thoughts on “Business Lies are still Lies?

  1. I think you were very restrained in your response, but I do think maybe you should take her aside and have a conversation with her about how much her approach bothered you. Sometimes just letting people know that what they are doing is not really ethical or acceptable can change their path!! Good luck & it’s very nice of you to care so much about giving scholarships to local kids!!

  2. I agree. I know I could make more money being unethical but I could not sleep at night or be happy. I am content to treat people honestly and ethicly and share my years of knowledge in the Real Estate industry.

  3. I am willing to bet that there were other people in that meeting that felt the same way about the unethical approach. It is the kind of attitude that give some sales people a sleazy reputation. It may do well in the short run, but people catch on, and word gets out. The organization is no longer trusted, and the next time around it may be even harder to obtain sponsors. Not only that, who would want to look at themselves in the mirror after putting it over, even if it is for a good cause. Actually, the cause is the best sales pitch. Who doesn’t want to help a kid go to school if they can do it. It would be a more valuable to come up with creative solutions about how to afford to sponsor someone.

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