This Week’s Dilemma

I am building up my career in a succcessful and expanding mortgage firm. I have been acknowledged as a conscientious and effective people manager and possess good administrative skills. However, I am not confident in driving hard bargains or negotiating and am worried this will limit my career potential. Is there any way I can improve my negotiating skills with the suppliers and stakeholders I have to deal with, or should I just give up and be content where I am?

Helen Hymos is lender relationship manager at the Professional Mortgage Packagers Alliance

Don’t undermine your own capabilities because we never stop learning or maturing. You are obviously quite young and I suspect that you have not yet found your niche in the industry.

The best salespeople are not necessarily the ones who can sell ice to eskimos but rather those who use their knowledge and expertise in the selling process. You need to work hard to learn about all the areas of your firm’s activities, and don’t try to run before you can walk.

You have highlighted two important things you are good at – people management and administration. Successful internal operations managers are at a premium in this industry. We have lots of salespeople and ambassadors but not so many people who can direct companies’ strategies and provide the care, attention and follow-through necessary to build financially sound operations with contented workforces. Perhaps you just need to believe you can reach the top in this capacity.

Sometimes, moving employer makes a huge difference as you may gel better in a different environment. Perhaps a small company where you can show your value more transparently and make a difference would be suitable.

If you still believe you need better negotiating skills there are plenty of courses your firm could send you on and books you could read, not only about negotiating but also about boosting self-worth and personal effectiveness.