Ever hear the phrase “No sales rep is an island”? OK, maybe the adage is slightly different, but if you are in sales and want to be successful, this is the way you should remember it. Not to your liking? Perhaps, “A sales rep cannot be successful by sales skill alone.” My personal favorite: “Behind every great sales rep is a credit manager, helping seal the deal.”
Regardless of how you say it, if you haven’t figured out that a huge key to your sales greatness is building and maintaining a solid relationship with your credit manager, then you are fooling yourself and may not be able to get out of your own way.
Everyone has a view of what “solid” is. For our purposes, let’s define what your credit manager thinks a “solid” credit and sales relationship:
- Help me find a way to say yes. If you want me to take a chance on increasing a credit line to a customer or take a gamble on a new applicant, be willing to get out on that limb with me. Bring me every bit of information you know about the company/person. Keep me updated on what you hear to help protect us (and when I say us, I mean me, you and the company). United we stand, united we fall.
- Come at me bro. If you disagree with my decision, come discuss it with me like a grown up. Going behind my back up the food chain before discussing it with me is not only bad form, but it will get back to me and make it difficult for us in the future. How do you think that order will get released or the account opened? If we still disagree after a discussion and you want to appeal it to a higher power, I understand completely and can get behind that. Hell, I will even go with you. Business decisions happen all the time, let’s be upfront and have an informed chat so we are all aligned.
- Show me your character. You can be the company a$$hole and I will still support you, and most likely enjoy your company, if you do what you say and say what you do. In other words, have my back and don’t leave me hanging out to dry.
- Mutual respect. You may not like my decisions, but tell me the same way you tell it to others before or instead of telling them. In other words, if you wouldn’t say it to my face, don't say it. It always makes it back to me and credit managers have excellent and long memories. Let’s not make it awkward for both of us.
- Give me a head’s up. Just like a bank can prequalify you for a loan, I can prequalify your sales rep “hit list.” Give me the names of who you are chasing, let me run a quick down and dirty credit report and save us both any heartache. Same with large orders. If you know you have a six-figure deal going, loop me in. I want you to be successful, so we are all successful. I know the company does not make money if we don't sell materials. I am not anti-sales, just anti-bad debt.
That’s it. No great mystery. Be upfront, honest and willing to help do some heavy lifting if asked. Credit and sales can make a profitable partnership if you let it.