Sales conflict: why you shouldn’t fight over stolen sale

Sales is competitive. As with any competition, there are winners and losers.  The just concluded election, for instance, had a whopping 16,000 contestants, yet the vacancies were less than 10% of that. Selling is no different. And with competition, inevitably, conflict arises. One such is, “He stole my client” (sic). Given the labour that goes into acquiring a customer, you begin to see why having your customer ‘stolen’ is painful. And yet, as a sales conflict resolution, I don’t advocate fighting over a stolen sale.  Here’s why.

Abundance vs. scarcity

Conflict over sales tends to arise because of a scarcity mind-set. Without getting philosophical about it, when something is rare, it’s seen as precious and therefore fought over. Diamonds for instance are rare and therefore considered precious. Small wonder therefore that conflict manifests in most areas it is mined; sadly many times as a matter of life and death. But sales, like Kenyan elections, needn’t be a matter of life and death. And the most effective way of ensuring this is having an abundance mentality.

If diamonds were in abundance (common), they would lose their precious value. Pun intended. Sales people that fight tooth and nail over a sale adamantly claiming, “It’s mine” come from a point of scarcity. ‘I’m dead if I don’t get this sale.’ And, yes they are. Because they don’t prospect, they are limited for options and therefore sales. Performance is affected and exit is imminent.  Stellar sellers are not wanting for sales; their full pipeline is always gushing out yet another sale. So they don’t fight over a sale; that’s for average sales people. In fact they are happy to give it away. “It’s ok; let him have it.” Even if they know they rightfully deserve it.

Sales conflict stolen sale

Handling conflict in sales over stolen sale

Call it karma but those that fight over a sale don’t last long with it. Yes, they get credit for it but that’s about as far as it goes. But that’s all that matters you argue. No. It isn’t.  If it was claw back in insurance selling would not exist. Those selling insurance know that in the event an account founders and it is discovered that it was because of unethical behaviour on the part of the agent, every last cent paid out in commissions is clawed back. Salespeople that fight over a sale tend to not have any skin in the game. They didn’t sweat for it and therefore feel no pain for it. Like the woman who agreed with wise King Solomon to cut the baby in half.

The child’s mother however just couldn’t bear that happening. “It’s ok. Let her have it,” she said. The sales person that fights over a sale tends to be fraudulent about it and this quickly shows. He ignores nurturing the sale or struggles to do so.  The customer calls the ‘real mother’ and wonders: “Why am I dealing with a Kageche and yet it’s you that sold to me.”  And guess what? The ‘real mother’ does not expose their dirty linen in public. She instead just says, “It’s OK. Kageche was assigned to deal with it. If you do have a problem, just let me, or the manager, know, and we will sort you out.” Two such complaints later, the truth of who really owns the account, outs. Just as it did with King Solomon. 

It’s not worth the time

There are many issues affecting salespeople. The salesperson that focuses on problems instead of solutions doesn’t grow; he shrinks. Fighting over a sale is focusing on a problem. It is not the best use of your time. It is also not the most effective way of handing peer conflict. As you have seen, the truth outs; the ‘fake mother’ can only ‘steal’ so many children before she is exposed. Focusing on continually filling your pipeline is a more effective use of your time.  Focusing on more customer-facing time is more productive. Disputing over a sale is emotionally draining and counter-productive. Such unnecessary conflict affects productivity. Avoid it.


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