I recently found out that one of the sales people that works with my department almost exclusively is interpreting my questions for clarification as a weakness. He has given feedback to my supervisor that I need to be confident when providing answers to him (the salesperson).
I have tried, "I'm not sure I understand you, let me repeat that back to you" or "Let me repeat that back to you to make sure I understand" as my fall back answer. I do realize that I answer about half of his questions this way, but his directions are vague.
Even when it is something as simple as refreshing slides, I repeatedly miss the mark of what he is expecting. I will ask what he'd like to see different, and am told, "Do it like the last time we used this template" but that's where I started this go around.
There's a political situation here too, where he feels that he is the "top dog" in the organization; the office gossip is that he is untouchable.
Any ideas on better ways to ask for clarification without seeming like I'm causing problems? I'm open to reading books or articles too, if you found a specific method to be helpful.