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Are credit managers anti-sales?

Thea Dudley


Dear Thea,

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Longtime reader, first time emailer. I work in sales and frankly, some of the credit managers I have worked with (and currently am working with), are anti-sales. They don’t seem to realize that sales brings in the customers. I consider myself a reasonable person, but the constant “No” and pointing out of every issue of my customers to me is old and unproductive. How can I get my credit manager to realize I am not the enemy? I hate always having to go to my manager for support.

— Single-handedly making sales in Saginaw

Dear Single,

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Judgy much? You will forever remain that single salesperson if that’s your attitude. Ever hear the phrase “you get as good as you give?” How about “No sales rep is an island?” Ok, maybe the adage is slightly different, but if you are in sales and want to be successful, this is the way you should remember it. Not to your liking? Perhaps, “A sales rep cannot be successful by sales skill alone.” My personal favorite: “Behind every great sales rep is a credit manager helping seal the deal.”

Regardless of how you say it, if you haven’t figured out that a huge key to your sales greatness is building and maintaining a relationship with your credit manager, then you are fooling yourself and may not be able to get out of your own way.

Everyone thinks they are reasonable, but ask others, and it is up for debate. Your credit manager may see you differently. Hence, the give as good as you get comment. For our purposes let’s define what your credit manager considers “reasonable.”

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  1. Help me find a way to say “Yes.” If you want me to take a chance on a customer or new applicant, be willing to get out on that limb with Bring me every bit of information you know about the company/person. Keep me updated on what you hear to help protect us (and when I say “us,” I mean me, you, and the company). United we stand, united we fall.
  2. Come at me, bro. If you disagree with my decision, come discuss it with me like a grown up. Going behind my back up the food chain before discussing it with me is not only bad form, but it will get back to me and make it difficult for us in the future. If we still disagree after the discussion and you want to appeal it to a higher power, I understand. Hell, I’ll even go with you.
  3. Show me your character. You can be the company jerk and I will still support you (and most likely enjoy your company) if you do what you say and say what you do. In other words, have my back and don’t leave me hanging.
  4. Mutual respect. You may not like my decisions but tell me the same way you tell it to others, before you tell In other words, if you wouldn’t say it to my face, don’t say it. It always gets back to me.
  5. Give me a head’s up. Just like a bank can prequalify you for a loan, I can prequalify your sales rep “hit list.” Give me the names of who you are chasing. Let me run a quick down and dirty credit report and save us both any heartache. I want you to be successful so we are all successful. I know the company does not make money if we don’t sell product.
  6. Not telling me something or hiding something on purpose is just the same as lying. That’s it. No great mystery. Be upfront, honest, and willing to help do some heavy lifting if asked. Now go make nice.


With more than 30 years of credit management experience in the LBM industry, Thea Dudley consults with companies on a wide range of credit and financial management issues. Contact Thea at

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