Relationships – whether business or personal – have their obstacles to overcome. And, as much as we want to blame others for our problems or for their stubborn behavor, there are things both parties can and should do in order to foster the healthiest working environment possible.
Beginning as an entry level worker, beware: there is literally no telling what to expect. Sadly, in the corporate world, the vast majority of the people who have been appointed to management positions are not very good ones. On the same token, often that is their fault, but also often it is not. Poorly run shops are not poorly run because of first-level managers; the finger-pointing should be on the person who should be coaching them and holding them accountable.
That said, when you enter a company from the first rung of the corporate ladder, you will see all sorts of things. Your virtue and integrity will very possibly be tested, you will likely be treated unfairly more than once and you will definitely not agree with a lot of things. On the flip side, however, you will most definitely have no idea everything your managers are grappling with – the pressures, strains and struggles to prioritize everything on their plates can be overwhelming. And, if their managers are inept as well, it is the blind leading the blind.
Much of the ownership of your job falls upon you. It should, and it does. The training – however adequate – is there, and you have to always be on a quest for knowledge. It is your manager’s job to remove obstacles, foster a healthy environment and coach you, but there are no guarantees this will happen.
In my time in corporate life, I have been told to illegally put unauthorized services on accounts, have been threatened rather than molded, and have seen harassment, hostile work environment, discrimination, racism, sexism, ageism and every other -ism. And, the trouble is, if you stand up to it, go over their head or hope the truth will set you free, you will be retaliated against. Trust me.
As a rep, if you fear your manager loathe your manager or disagree with them, the best thing to remember is that you work for them and that is likely not going to change anytime soon. Remember the basics of the holy sales trinity – the customer, the company and you – with every choice you make, and even if you have to smile and nod a lot, search for a compliment or grit your teeth/bite your tongue, hear them out, make them feel like the smartest person in the room and do your best to meet them halfway. Let them do their talking. Say your piece; you will need to test the waters as to how open they are to your ideas and occasional disagreements. If they scream at you daily, there’s a problem (been there!), and you will often have to softly convey any disagreements like you are breaking up with a longtime lover or just keep quiet. If they are open to your ideas, lucky you. You might have a good relationship with that person.
As a manager, you will face 10-to-30 times the personalities you face with one solitary manager. There’s the prima donna superstar (that was me), the overachievers, the underachivers, those who aren’t cut out for the gig but try their behinds off, and those who stink up the joint.
The trick with removing potential or real obstacles is – similar to above – letting them air their grievances. Listening. Make the relationship about them; because that’s why you’re there: to serve and protect.
Sales reps respect managers who respect them, who roll up their sleeves and do the job, but also who hold them accountable to set parameters of rules. Obstacles arise if you are too nice, but obstacles are minimal if you show mutual respect, invest your time in them and treat everyone fairly. They need the perception of justice, they need to know you are there if they need you for anything and they need you to be a human being. Do not put yourself on a pedestal. Be part of the team.
Wherever the weak link lies – be it the rep, the manager, or anyone above or below on the sales food chain – the keys to a relationship are communication, understanding and sometimes knowing when to keep your mouth shut. We all have to work together, so it’s better to learn how to make it work between each other rather than to allow rifts to form and grow.
Carson V. Heady has written a sales book unlike any other, entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. It is a how-to sell/career advice book inside a novel about the fictional author who practices what he preaches.
If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.carsonvheady.com/.