Sales managers can be a headache, but most of the time their craziness doesn't spill over into your relationships with customers. But what do you do if you're in a situation like the one this reader wrote to complain about:
My manager was convinced he had been the best sales rep on the planet. Could close anything and anyone, so he said. Unfortunately, he'd gotten used to being a manager or something, because he wasn't any good with customers. He went on a sales call with me and actually go into an honest-to-God screaming match with a customer. Then he still expected me to close that deal and make my quota.This is a difficult problem because you're dealing with your manager's ego. There are all sorts of weirdness that could be going on in that pointy head of his, so there are plenty of minefields to ignore. Even so, unless you're going to find someplace else to sell, you're going to have to cope.
Your best approach, obviously, is to avoid taking your sales manager to customer meeting. Schedule key meetings when you know your manager will be otherwise occupied. If you know your manager is coming to a meeting that HAS to go well, call the customer and try to have it moved. Then tell your manager at the last minute. Yeah, it's a hassle but, hey, we're talking about your commission, kapeesh?
If you can't pull that one off, then you must prep your boss before the meeting. Explain that you need some experience "running" a customer meeting. Say that you'd like your boss to take notes about what you did right and what you did wrong, and then give suggestions for improvement...after the meeting. Most sales manager enjoy the role of coach.
Don't forget to remind your boss that if the manager closes the sale personally, the customer will probably attempt to bypass the sales person in the future in order to talk to the "decision-maker." And that means more work for your boss. Since he's probably busy enough, that alone could keep him out of your hair.
READERS: What's your opinion? Is it worth the hassle to "retrain" a meddling manager or is this kind of thing just a signal that it's time to move on?