From Service Manager To Sales Leader

July 19th, 2010 | Posted in Leadership | Comments Off on From Service Manager To Sales Leader

Carla closed the door to her office and sat down quietly. She put her elbows on her desk and rested her head on her hands. She bit hard on her lower lip, and fought to hold back the tears. In three years as a call center supervisor, this was surely the toughest challenge she had faced.

Carla’s mind drifted back to when she was first promoted from representative to supervisor. Those were hard days, too. The reps really tested her. But Carla had been a top rep herself and she knew that job as well as anyone in the office. With her quiet confidence and her positive, helpful manner, she had eventually won over even long-term reps that the other supervisors tried to avoid.

But this was different. And now, for the first time, Carla felt adrift in uncharted waters.

It was about six weeks ago that the call center leadership team announced that representatives would be expected to sell. Carla recalled her own initial reaction of skepticism mixed with anxiety. She didn’t know anything about selling – and neither did anyone else in the center. The leadership team talked about “competitive pressures” and “market share” and “customer lifetime value” but their words rang a little hollow. These ideas sounded important but what did they have to do with how the representatives actually talked with customers?

Even so, Carla always considered herself to be a “good soldier.” And if this was the direction the call center was going to take, she certainly wanted to do her part. But what was that part – and how would she learn it?

Now, six weeks later, Carla’s worst fears had come true. She wanted to help her reps succeed at selling, but she felt unprepared and uncertain about how to proceed. And when she tried to provide feedback and offer helpful suggestions, the reactions from the reps were swift and vicious.

“Why should I listen to you? You never sold anything!”

“If you know so much, why don’t you show me how to do it?”

“I’m a service representative. I wasn’t hired to sell. I can’t, I won’t, and you can’t make me.”

Carla tried hard to summon her normal enthusiasm but failed miserably. She lifted her head and stared at the clock on the wall of her office. It was 2:45. She knew she should be out on the floor with her reps, but she just couldn’t face them. Surely she could find enough paperwork to keep her going until 5:00 . . .

Service To Sales Tips

Get your managers off the bench and into the game by providing them with the skills the need to succeed:

  • The sales skills to build credibility and confidence.
  • The sales leadership and coaching skills to achieve outstanding results.
  • The change management skills to gain buy-in and deal with resistance.

Read our blog


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