Sales Coaching Blog

Sales Managers: Claim Your Authority

Posted by Anna Schott

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September 9, 2015

authority“It’s amazing what you don’t get when you don’t ask.” - Berney Neufeld

I can wholeheartedly say that I am a waist deep kind of negotiator. I know there are some of you that can relate. You negotiate just enough but if it starts getting confrontational, uncomfortable or too deep then thoughts like, “Get me out of here,” or “Run away!” usually come to mind.

Saying that, I was in need of pep talk to become more confident, learn to have a little swagger and be completely comfortable with myself in these situations. I recently attended one of the many motivating sessions called RISE Lincoln which is designed to connect women business leaders in my community that enables networking opportunities as well as learning from brilliant women who are kicking butt and taking names.

The most recent speaker was the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Business Dean, Donde Plowman. Donde’s talk was titled “Claiming Your Authority.” It covered pro tips on negotiating and how we can each “claim our authority” which she joked is usually taught in an entire semester. We on the other hand got a 40-minute summary.

During the Dean’s talk she displayed data and research contrasting how women and males use persuasion and authority in their careers. Though the talk referenced women mostly, my thoughts shifted to the managers who we work with day in and day out. Two types of managers came to mind:

  • Manager 1: Those that don’t take proper authority within their organizations or team.
  • Manager 2: Those that know a change needs to be made within their organization but too timid to ask for it.

Both types of managers are hurting their organizations causing bigger problems in the future. Why? Because without proper authority, no negotiation takes place. It’s a lose-lose situation. And as we know, “If you do not ask, the answer will always be NO!” Or in this case, “If you don’t negotiate, change will never happen and growth will not occur.”

Here are 3 tips Donde gave on how you can claim your authority and be better persuaders:

1) Think big, act bravely and sit at the table.

Manager 1: You’re either holding back too much or not enough. If you don’t ask your sales reps questions, listen to them and be patient with them then they are not going to respect you or have the motivation to work harder than he or she already is. How you exemplify the authority you have determines the level of work you’ll get in return. Don’t believe it? Check out this blog to learn more.

Manager 2: If you don’t claim your authority by thinking big, acting bravely and asking for change within your organization then the answer is no and always be. Stop holding back and not sitting at the table like Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, advises. Watching from the sidelines, not raising your hand or not asking for the big, bold, scary assignment or initiative will get you no further than where you already stand.

2) When negotiating: Act communally, think personally.

Manager 1 and 2: Your rationale should focus on the other party and how you can individually help or benefit them. Frame your wants around what they want rather than your desires. Negotiating on the behalf of others will get you further in life professionally and personally.

3) Use silence.

Manager 1: You know a lot. Your reps know that. This doesn’t need to be reinforced. In other words, let your reps do more of the talking especially during 1:1 and joint call plans. You have two ears and one mouth; it seems doable. Read about the research behind it here.

Manager 2: Silence can be uncomfortable, especially when negotiating. After you’ve finished negotiating DO NOT fill the silence with, “Well of course I know it’s a lot of money,” or “I know it seems like a lot,” or even, “So ya, I’m sure I left some things out.” Let the other party be uncomfortable for a while and let it sink in.

In the spirit of next year’s planning and budgeting, don’t be hesitant to claim your authority and use persuasion as your secret weapon. Without it you’ll be stuck being the waist deep negotiator, which we all know is never quite as satisfying.

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Topics: Sales Manager Tips, sales coaching, Sales Managers, Sales management coaching, Sales Manager Authority, Management Persuasion

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