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Every Sales Person Needs an Advocate

Today a sales person called with bad news. Unresolved service issues caused a good customer to cancel service. The salesperson explained they had repeatedly worked with a vendor to resolve the issue but problems persisted. What the salesperson was saying was, I did all I was supposed to do, I sold the deal, helped resolve issues, took the complaints and now I am eating crow with a charge back looking me in the face.

Of course the communication is never delivered that concise and usually as in this case repeated a few times before they settle down. The sales person needs someone to listen to them; this usually takes patience and empathy from the sales manager. They need to vent and believe someone understands them. As a manager it is easy to want to cut to the chase and solve the problem from happening again, I suggest you be patient and allow your sales person to vent before solving problems.

The sales person just listened to the customer do the same thing. There is nothing worse for a sales person than working hard to close a deal and watch it go away due to unresolved issues out of their control. Sales people not only need someone to supply them with a good product or service, reliable systems and support but someone who understands their pain and will be their advocate with ownership or the vendor.

Once the emotion is down it is easier to work on the problem. Ask them to get involved with documenting issues so the breakdown can be addressed and eliminated or minimized with future customers. Then be their advocate and take the issues to the people that can fix them. Make sure you report back to them on what you are doing and changes that will be implemented. You will build trust and teach them how to resolve business issues in the future.  In the long run if the issues are solved, the sales person will vent less and get to the problems sooner knowing that you are their advocate, someone they can count on.

Rene is the President of Sales Manager Now, a company that provides fractional sales management services to small and family-run businesses. He has twenty-seven years of experience in sales leadership, coaching, and consulting. He is also the author of the Part-Time Sales Management handbook and is based in Auburn, California.

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