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Who's the Boss, Credit or Sales?
By Jeris Baldwin, CCE

Business Credit Concepts
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If you missed the last education meeting you missed a wonderful opportunity to hear Jeris Baldwin talk to about how to work with salesmen.

Jeris outlined several terrific ideas that we can all use in our day-to-day negotiations with Sales.

First, know your opposition. Strategize. Make your ego as big as theirs. When working with people with big ego's, match them one to one. Listen to what they are saying and deal only in factnot on gut feeling. Treat all your sales people with respect. Look at them and don't talk above them. Listen, then talk.

Try to create an environment where your have credit minded sales and sales minded credit people.

Jeris suggests we should let sales talk first. That is hard to do if you go in determined that you are right. Ask questions, ask why should we sell to this account on open terms? Take notes. Be careful not to insult the integrity of your sales people and don't talk down to them. Remember that if you listen before you talk you have less chance of making a fool of yourself.

When dealing with your sales people and customers, don't allow yourself to fall for coercion. Let them talk and give them enough rope to hang themselves. Don't let them insult you and don't allow them to hurt your feelings. If you are insulted tell them how your feel.

Pick your battles. When you go in, know your opposition. Treat them with respect and listen carefully. Take notes, watch body language, never talk down to a person. If you are backed into a corner let them know you respect their opinion. Say what you need to say and stop. Be brief. If you always win, you are being a bully because no one can always be right. You haven't allowed someone else to have an opinion, nor are you willing to take a risk. Don't always be the one to have the power. Share and you will get more support.

If a decision to issue credit has been taken out of your hands, let it go. Share the ulcers, share the heartache and let it go.

Know your write of levels. Know what your company can cover on loses. If an account is marginal, look at it again, do some extra digging. If there is not much on your credit application, look in state records. Know who you are selling to. Make your salesman part of your team. Let go when personal feelings are involved. If you are smart, know when personal feelings are involved. Disassociate and reevaluate.

Stand firm when the risk exceeds the return, when the risk is so bad that it could be equal to your write offs for the entire year. Explain to sales without divulging too much information. Gain their confidence so that they have faith in you. Earn a reputation as a credit manager that is honest, reliable, level headed and fair. Don't be mean. Learn that credit and sales is co dependent. It is the hand and glove that keeps people moving forward.

There is no boss in credit and sales!

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