Hindsight is 20/20 may be true. It sure won’t help you make the sale you lost because you missed a clue as you were selling. Here are some clues that I’ve pulled in over the years that I don’t want you to miss when you sell.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle problems.
No one likes complainers. I never consider it a complaint when the person comes with the solution. That’s how you should approach something in your business that needs to change. What do you suggest be done to remedy the situation? Managers are far more receptive to salespeople when they come with an idea to improve rather than simply come to complain.
Just remember, there might be something you have missed when you first see the problem. Ask a few questions to learn what the big picture is before you identify the problem. There might be a simple fix that can be implemented to address what you’ve noticed and easily get improvement.
In all cases it’s a big mistake to accuse anyone of causing the problem. People don’t listen as well when they are accused of doing something wrong. It’s always safer to ask questions and respond than to accuse and listen.
Everyone is equal in business.
There are some people who treat lower level employees differently than they do senior managers. That’s a big mistake. Do you think that all senior managers started off in their senior positions? There are CEOs who started in the mailroom. It’s easy to forget that organization charts are fluid and can change without notice. You may have trained your future manager. People have long memories and they don’t forget a kindness or an inconsiderate slight.
Is it reasonable to think that you will enjoy working with everyone? Of course not. The best you can do is when someone annoys you to be sure that you are polite and keep your interactions limited. Remember, people move to different departments and companies. Your peer could be your manager one day. Your subordinate could become a customer or hire you at a new company. That difficult person could control the customer satisfaction of your biggest account. Don’t write anyone off. Remember your manners and be polite.
There’s a nuclear option in sales which you really need to avoid.
There’s someone who manages you unless you own your company. Sales interacts with so many other departments that it’s only a manner of time before a conflict arises. You may not get the price you need to sell while someone else does. You may get a budget item denied while someone else gets approval. An order might get canceled or delayed for no reason. At some point something will make you angry.
Think about a situation which you can’t ignore. It’s a tough one that really, really bothers you. You approach your manager and he is unwilling or unable to help resolve the issue especially if he’s the cause. What do you do next?
There is the nuclear option. It is the last effort that you can do and it is a final one. Why? Because you have no alternative if you get denied. Here’s the nuclear option. You approach the person who is above your manager to make your case. I strongly recommend that you avoid the nuclear option at all costs.
Even if you win, you lose when you execute the nuclear option. Why? Your boss won’t trust you anymore because he knows you’ll go over his head. His manager won’t trust you since now you’re seen as not a team player.
There’s only one case where you might have to implement the nuclear option. Illegal behavior in business is unacceptable. Just know that whistle blowers don’t have a strong record of remaining at their firm after their views are known.
Albert Einstein once said, “I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn.” Sales is a wonderful learning environment to take everything in. Pay attention. You can learn a lot that will make you successful.