Dear Aunty B,
How do I nicely tell my boss to shut up? I run a large sales team and my boss likes to come out and meet our key clients. The problem is that we have big targets and I am there to do business and she likes to get in the meetings and yack, yack, yack. She goes on and on about how wonderful our business is and how much we can help them. While they like her and she is so passionate, we get to the end of the meeting and we haven’t found out anything useful like the size of their budgets, when they are planning to spend and how much we should send them a proposal for.
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She of course thinks she is a big help. What do I do?
Please don’t print my name as she reads your column.
Are you sure you are not one of my sales team writing under an alias? Because I know I went to a meeting last week and babbled away to the client about how great our company is. Then I started giving the client advice about how they can fix their problems and so time ran out and no one got a word in edge-ways. Follow up emails had to be written to get more information.
What can I say but SORRY for not letting you do your job? And if it isn’t one of my team, then there must be other bosses out there like me who can’t keep their mouth shut.
So here is what you must do. I once had a super salesman who would come out to visit clients with me and he had a strict rule. I talked for half the meeting, he talked for the other half. (Yes, the client got a word in too!) Then as we walked towards the door with the client I was not allowed to monopolise the important person in the meeting. Instead I had to walk ahead or chat to the other people while he closed the deal with the main player. If I breached any of his rules he wouldn’t speak to me in the lift and then yelled at me as soon as we walked out of the building. It worked.
So next time you are off to see a client with the boss, read her the riot act.
Your Aunty B