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Increasing Trust and Respect Between Sales and Credit
By Steven Kozack

Business Credit Concepts
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Trust and respect between credit and sales will build a strong foundation for increasing sales and profits. Unfortunately, in some companies a competitive, even confrontational relationship currently exists between sales and credit. Some would say this is a natural result of the fact that to some extent credit and sales sometimes have radically different points of view on topics including credit limits, credit holds, and about credit applicants. Some of the ways to build respect and trust between sales and credit include:

  • Honesty. Both credit and sales must recognize that withholding critical information not only could cost the company money in the short term, but it also harms the relationship between sales and credit in the long term.

  • Work to improve the ways in which you communicate information to the sales department. Your goal should be to provide detailed information in a timely manner to the salesperson, and allow them time to review and to comment on the information provided.

  • Ensure consistency in the credit decision-making process otherwise the operations of the credit department appear arbitrary.

  • Respect the fact that salespeople need and expect prompt answers to their questions since they in turn often must provide their customers with information or explanations.

  • Increase the frequency of your department's communications and discussions with sales.

  • Don't ignore differences of opinion. An issue may not be resolved to the satisfaction of the sales department, but ignoring their opinions is counter-productive.

  • Never allow a disagreement with sales to degenerate into an argument. Stick to the issue at hand. Do not bring up old issues.

  • Always look for a win-win-win outcome [For the customer, and the sales department, and the credit department]. While this outcome may not always be achievable, it will almost certainly not be achieved if it is not a specific goal of your credit department.

Trust and respect is a two-way street. The credit department must be willing to give it to the sales department and the company's customers in order to get it back in return.

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