5 Keys to Harmony Amongst Sales Reps and their Managers

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 behavior, 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, many people who have been appointed to management positions are not very good ones. On the same token, while often that is their fault, 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.

As an employee, the best thing to remember is that you work for your leadership team and your job is to be the person you pledged to be on interview day. Even if they are not an ideal boss, 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 peace; you will need to test the waters as to how open they are to your ideas and occasional disagreements. If they yell at you or demean you daily, there’s a problem, 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. There’s the prima donna superstars, the overachievers, the under-achievers, 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 book 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. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G

Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carson-V-Heady/125078150858064?ref=hl , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at cvheady007@yahoo.com or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page: https://carsonvheady.wordpress.com/the-home-of-birth-of-a-salesman-2010-published-by-world-audience-inc-and-the-salesman-against-the-world-2014/

About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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