Not Standing Up to Bullies
Customers can be bullies as can people you work with or for. I made the mistake of not standing up for myself when I worked for a manager who was a bully. If he disagreed with a sales strategy, he would scream and curse. Civil discussion was not part of his make up.
I was initially speechless when I heard his first outburst. What stopped me from defending myself was that my sales success depended on my relationship with my manager. It was up to him if my deals were approved or not.
This went on for months. My mother gave me the best advice. She said, “The next time he screams, you need to tell him that if he can’t
Are you making a sales mistake?
talk in a civil tone, you don’t need to listen.” When I finally did as she suggested, my boss screamed, “You can come back when you’re less emotional!” I quickly answered, “I’ll come back when you’re less emotional.”
That’s when I stopped talking to him and I communicated with him only in writing. He blinked first.
A week later, he called me to his office and said, “About last week, I’m sure you’re sorry and want to apologize.” I replied, “I’m not sorry and I have no intention of apologizing.” He said, “Well, then, can we forget it?” I said, “Fine.”
And that was the end of the bullying.
I made the mistake of letting a bully behave badly without confronting him. Don’t make the same mistake.
Ignoring the Past Performance of Sales Partners
My sales success was dependent on distributors when I was in the oil business. My job was to select and work with independent business owners who would sell my products. Getting a contract with a major oil company was very important and gave a distributor a competitive advantage.
Many distributors who wanted contracts would promise that they would sell large volumes of product. Few delivered. The lesson I learned here was you have to learn how to pick the people you work with, who you can rely on so that you become successful.
I also quickly learned to get past the promises and find out how the distributors planned to deliver on those promises. I looked for the resources they had and the processes they had in place to achieve their promised sales. Unless they had a process and the resources, I passed.
Other salespeople believed the promises they heard. I didn’t. I knew these distributors wanted to deliver, but they wouldn’t be able to. Another lesson learned is it’s a mistake to make business decisions based on wishful thinking.