Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Sales and Selling Recognition Insecurity

I oversee a customer service department, and I have five reps reporting to me. They all do a good job. My question is how to deal with a rep who repeatedly asks customers to write letters about his good work, and then parades around the office with these letters in hand? Everyone knows that the customers wrote the letters only because they were asked.

Asking questions is one of the most effective ways to enhance one's sales effectiveness, provided that the questions are focused on meeting the customers' needs, as opposed to meeting the salesperson's needs.

By repeatedly asking customers to write glowing letters of praise, a sales rep can put customers in an awkward position, burn up customers' time, and even annoy customers. This whole process also detracts from the time that the sales rep could actually be selling to other customers.

This is very different from a situation in which the customer says something like, "You have done a great job. I'd like to tell your managerÍ." These are the praiseworthy and parade-worthy letters. Unless the customer opens this door, sales reps should be advised to refrain from soliciting letters from the customers.

Your rep may well be asking for these letters this because of unfulfilled needs for recognition and positive feedback. If his performance is truly excellent, you should try giving him more thanks, credit, and recognition. Once his needs for recognition are being satisfied, he should be less likely to continue his letter writing campaign.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!