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Handling Disputes With Sales


Mr. Michael Dennis is the author of “Credit and Collection Handbook.”


By the very nature of the goals of the credit department and of the sales department, disputes between credit and sales about whether an order should be released on open account terms or whether a particular customer’s credit limit should be increased are inevitable. Disputes such as these can and must be handled professionally and diplomatically by the credit department. Here are some suggestions for handling disputes with sales more diplomatically:

1. Be proactive. Give your sales department staff as much advanced notice as possible about possible adverse action involving one of their customers.

2. Demonstrate that your goal is to find a workable solution to the problem - not to defend whatever position you initially took.

3. Look for a reason to approve the credit limit increase or to release the order pending rather than looking for an excuse not to do so.

4. If you are angry at the salesperson over something he or she said or did, calm down before having a discussion with them about their inappropriate statement or behavior.

5. Focus on the issues at hand. Don't bring up past disagreements, unless they relate clearly and specifically to the issue under review.

6. Keep personalities and personal attacks out of the discussion.

7. Welcome their input, and if offered welcome their assistance…but do not allow salespeople to represent the credit department and never allow them to negotiate payment plans on your behalf.

8. Choose your words carefully. For example: Don't say: "You're completely wrong." Say instead: "I understand what you are saying, but I don't agree with you."

9. Allow the salesperson to appeal a credit decision to your manager. If your manager does not override your decision, don’t revel in your success. If your decision is overruled, accept your manager’s decision politely.

10. If you discover that you overlooked important information and find that a position that you took regarding a customer was wrong, apologize and take the appropriate action to correct the error – and be sure to take steps to ensure that the problem does not happen again.

© 2002 Michael C. Dennis. All Rights Reserved

Created on 13-Mar, 2011 by HKCCMA.

Last Edited on 09-Apr, 2011 by HKCCMA.