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Management article
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Reference no. R0604Z
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Originally published in: "Harvard Business Review", 2006
Revision date: 20-Feb-2013

Abstract

For teaching purposes, this is the commentary-only version of the HBR case study.No question, Galen McDowell knew how to sell. He quickly hooked a big-league outfit, Kinan Motors, as a potential customer. He invited their representatives to come take a tour of the company and, while they were in town, visit the Red Ruby Club. The Red Ruby? That's a strip club. Galen assured CEO Bob Carlton that it was upscale and full of businesspeople. He said his reps had often made use of the club to woo important accounts away from rivals. As if to prove his point, Kinan quickly signed a multimillion-dollar contract with OptiMotors after the visit. Then April Hartley, Bob's first salesperson, quit. She had tried to build relationships with customers, but the really big accounts, it seemed, were looking for 'more exciting stuff' than she could give them. Now Joan Warren - another saleswoman, and one who would happily close a deal anywhere she got the chance - is complaining because Galen won't let her go to the club with him. 'I won't stand by and be disadvantaged simply because I'm a woman,' she says. When does client entertainment cross the line? Four experts discuss this fictional case study: John Brown, the director of institutional sales and customer relations at Fortis Investments; Katherine Frank, a former dancer who is now an author and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Das Narayandas, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School; and Denise Rousseau, a professor at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School of Public Policy and Tepper School of Business.

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Abstract

For teaching purposes, this is the commentary-only version of the HBR case study.No question, Galen McDowell knew how to sell. He quickly hooked a big-league outfit, Kinan Motors, as a potential customer. He invited their representatives to come take a tour of the company and, while they were in town, visit the Red Ruby Club. The Red Ruby? That's a strip club. Galen assured CEO Bob Carlton that it was upscale and full of businesspeople. He said his reps had often made use of the club to woo important accounts away from rivals. As if to prove his point, Kinan quickly signed a multimillion-dollar contract with OptiMotors after the visit. Then April Hartley, Bob's first salesperson, quit. She had tried to build relationships with customers, but the really big accounts, it seemed, were looking for 'more exciting stuff' than she could give them. Now Joan Warren - another saleswoman, and one who would happily close a deal anywhere she got the chance - is complaining because Galen won't let her go to the club with him. 'I won't stand by and be disadvantaged simply because I'm a woman,' she says. When does client entertainment cross the line? Four experts discuss this fictional case study: John Brown, the director of institutional sales and customer relations at Fortis Investments; Katherine Frank, a former dancer who is now an author and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Das Narayandas, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School; and Denise Rousseau, a professor at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School of Public Policy and Tepper School of Business.

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