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Bill Farquharson

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Getting Along with Non-Sales Bosses

Learning to communicate with all personality types is a requirement of the job of sales. That skill pays additional benefits when building relationships with a manager or company president who has never been in sales. In this week's Short Attention Span Sales Tip, Bill Farquharson shares some ideas on how to apply selling skills typically used on clients internally.

Good morning!

Salespeople, if you came across a customer or prospect who didn’t think like you do, would you give up and look elsewhere? Of course not. You would identify the personality type, learn their communication style, and change your approach in order to achieve the two necessary goals of a relationship:

  1. To understand, and,
  2. To be understood.

So, what makes dealing with a difficult boss any different?

When I am listening to someone complain about “…my idiotic sales rep …” or when I am listening to a sales rep complain about “…my wildly unhinged sales manager” the first question I ask is to find out if that manager/president has ever been in sales. Why?

It makes all the difference.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who have a sales background and those who don’t. If your manager or boss has never been in sales, they don’t fully understand and they likely never will (and no, managers, it doesn’t matter how many reps you have managed in the past). And since this is not going to change, neither are they, so it is up to you, the salesperson, to make adjustments so the relationship works.

Salespeople are different. The job of sales is different. The challenges. The adversity. What it takes to be successful. We can be selfish. We can be moody. We are not always team players. You might not like us as people. But, as the saying goes, nothing happens until a sale is made.

So, salespeople, you must shape-shift your words and your approach to meet the boss where they live.

Sales reps, if you don’t understand your boss, think they’re crazy, have a hard time communicating with them, and find yourself frustrated a lot, you need to realize something: This is just another selling opportunity. You have FAR better chances of improving your relationship through changing the approach than they do.

If this were a selling situation, you would learn what the customer wants and help him or her to get it. In doing so, you would get what you want. By bringing that same thinking to your internal selling situations, your life will get better.

Oh, and managers? My advice to you is this: Either lead, follow, or get out of the way (and don’t overlook the wisdom of that last one).

There is a reason Sales Vault members see their sales explode. Join us for new ideas, inspiration, motivation, and solving your sales challenges at or call Bill Farquharson at 781-934-7036.

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