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ETHICS PROBLEMS What would you do? Do you lower your price or walk away? Why? Write out specifically what you would say next. Do buyers have to follow the same ethics principles as sellers? For example, sellers have to fully disclose all information. Do buyers? Why or why not? What ethical principle violation occurred here? QUESTIONS AND PROBLEMS 1. Travis Bruns is a sales representative for Crown Lift Services in Houston, Texas. In his own words, he describes an ethics issue with a buyer. I was in a real cutthroat bidding war for a $300,000-plus sales opportunity. Over the course of two months the competitive field had been narrowed down to two organizations, mine and the incumbent organization. The customer had set up a set of strict guidelines for the bidding process. One of those was that they had designated a "point of contact" (POC) that was to be the liaison through which all bids and proposals were to channel through to the VP. My organization and I had truly put our best foot forward on pricing and proposed service after the sale, and although the negotiations had been rough, we were able to sell the value of our solution, retain a fair amount of profit, and were told we had the deal: a true win–win. On the final day that the bid was open, I received a call from the point of contact asking me to lower my price. I was confused. I inquired about the previous discussions that had taken place in which we had mutually agreed that the price of our proposal was fair and good. I could hear some level of discomfort if not embarrassment in the POC's voice, so I came right out and asked him, "I get the sense that you are not comfortable with what is happening here either. What happened?" He replied, "Well, Travis, [your competitor] called one of the other managers in the office and was able to find out the pricing in your proposal. He then went around me and called the VP directly and offered a much lower price. The VP then called me and asked me to get you to lower your price or the other company will get the business." I was dumbfounded. I asked the customer, "If I cannot lower my price, are you telling me this deal is over for me?" "I think so," he replied. Travis Bruns. Used with permission. 2. You are talking about this chapter to your parents, when they ask, "What are they doing, teaching you how to manipulate people? Cheat them by using their buying style against them?" How do you respond? 1. Assume that the federal government is going to make reducing obesity a major priority. The process it has adopted includes reducing sugar content in children's cereals, making vegetables more palatable, and reducing fat in the overall diet. Identify three product categories (not including vegetables) for which derived demand would influence manufacturers and producers of consumer packaged goods (foods sold to be cooked or heated and eaten at home). Include at least one product affected positively and one product affected negatively. 2. Read Building Partnerships 3.1. Camille Sandler and Taylor Dixon describe how they classify buyers and alter their approaches accordingly. Why do their models differ? What are some other ways they could classify buyers? How can Camille work with a contracting department run by someone who is not willing to innovate? 3. Assume you are a salesperson selling to OEMs in the food processing industry. How would the purchasing decision process differ in the following situations? Which situation is a new task? A modified rebuy? A straight rebuy? How likely is the buyer to get other people in the organization involved? Which types of people are likely to get involved in each decision? Whom would you call on first? Which situation is likely to produce the slowest decision? CHAPTER 3: Buying Behavior and the Buying Process 87

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