Sales Team Schoolyards

Can’t kids be incredibly cruel?  The kinds of abuse and torment metered out in playgrounds by people under three feet high can be astounding.  Usually, the nightmare stops before long trousers become the order of the day.

Monday was another crazily hot day in London; it’s August in April right now.  After a call near Windsor I caught the train back into Town and read an article in the Times supplement left lying around the carriage.  As it made a pleasant change from the rubbish freesheets, I tucked in.

The author, a Stanford professor no less, gives 12 behaviours that mean you’re an office foul play victim.  It’s as if you’re still being set upon at break-time:

1 Personal insults
2 Invading one’s personal territory
3 Uninvited physical contact
4 Threats and intimidation, both verbal and non-verbal
5 Jokes and teasing used as insult-delivery systems
6 Withering e-mails
7 Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims
8 Public shaming
9 Rude interruptions
10 Two-faced attacks
11 Dirty looks
12 Treating people as if they are invisible

Now, think of the interactions within a sales team.  I have witnessed all of the above dozen, inside sales meetings, in corridors outside the bear pit, during one-on-one meetings with management.  It strikes me that these twelve are standard fare for sales managers and mis-guidedly politicking colleagues.  There’s so many things you can be pulled up for, even if you’re spanking your numbers, that many of the aforementioned no-nos can raise their ugly head.

The winning rep’s trick is to be thick-skinned, and concentrate on writing business.  And this should help not only halting the undesirable events described, but also prevent any of them morphing into tactics that obstruct your ambitions.

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