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Devil's Advocate

Do your sales reps know how far is too far when it comes to landing that sale?

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This story appears in the May 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you trust in the karmic surety that what's done in this life will surely be repaid in future incarnations--whether by health or horror--you may agree that many of the business leaders over the past few years will be returning to this earth as entities approximating roach excrement. Some CEOs and their minions have shown, through dubious accounting practices and out-and-out thievery, that they believe ethics in commerce to be purely optional.

Ethics in sales may not be the quickest route to success--cutting corners is almost always a more expeditious, if short-lived, route to riches. But in addition to the morality of adhering to ethical business practices, entrepreneurs know that selling with a conscience makes good balance-sheet sense over time. Here are a few reasons to encourage your sales force to behave honorably in a frequently shameful world:

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