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Manipulative deal-closing

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Holly was a real estate agent.  She was amazed to find that her Sales Director and other colleagues used various “deal-closing techniques” on prospective clients.  The most effective technique was what they called “the other party”.


Pushing the potential buyer for a decision, Holly’s colleagues would create a “buy-now-or-never” atmosphere by all means.  The colleagues would misinterpret the availability of the property concerned by saying that it was also viewed by many interested buyers of other colleagues.  In front of the potential buyer, they also either pretended to make lots of enquiries or engaged in a heated debates with other colleagues about the availability of the property.  The purpose was to increase the purchase desire as well as to impose pressure on the potential buyer.


According to Holly’s boss Mark, it was a real estate agent’s job to ‘help the potential buyer with a purchase decision’.  Holly had her scruples and disagreed with such psychological manipulation.  However, after six months, she found herself lagging behind in terms of sales figures.  Mark remarked that Holly lacked ‘sales techniques’.


Should Holly also employ the psychological devices that her colleagues had found so successful?   Or should she try to close deals in her own way, and be upfront and honest with her clients?

Case Analysis

Holly was facing an ethical dilemma that might put her personal values such as honesty, responsibility and fairness to challenge. In handling situation like this, Holly should identify the relevant facts and take stock of all stakeholders concerned. The following factors should be taken into consideration when identifying viable alternatives and choosing the best course of action:


  1. Any violation to her professional, industry specific, or company code of conduct?
  2. Is it against the Law?
  3. Does it correspond with her self-values such as responsibility and honesty?
  4. Can she disclose her decision to others openly and honestly without misgivings?


The ETHICS PLUS ethical decision making model might be helpful for her in resolving her ethical dilemma.

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