101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas
INSISTING ON RESPECT
The relationship between a customer and a supplier is worth some thought. The people involved do not have to like each other, at least not in the “Do come to dinner” sense, but they must have a good working relationship. There must be trust that the supplier will do as they say – or promise – and there must to a degree be mutual respect. The latter can be achieved in a number of ways, many of them linked to service and what is done.
This one is from my own experience….
I was in discussion with a potential client that was considering commissioning some training work. A meeting went well, and was followed by my submitting a written proposal. Another meeting was scheduled. I arrived, as I try to do, a few minutes early and announced myself at the reception. The appointed time- 10am-came and went. At 10.20 I spoke to the receptionist, to make sure my arrival had been announced. I was assured it had.
At 10.30am, with no words from my prospect (not even the offer of a cup of tea!), I wrote a short note which I left with the receptionist. It explained that I had other appointments and could wait no more, but I hoped we would be able to reschedule the meeting. I told the receptionist what it is said, and asked her to pass it on. It was some 40 minutes after the appointment time when I left. It only took me half an hour to be back at my desk. I was met by both an e-mail and a voicemail message apologizing, and ask for the meeting to be rescheduled soon.
The point here is that I told a white lie. In fact I could not have waited longer, but I chose not to. I had met the people concerned, and was able to judge their level of interest. I knew, or thought I did, the sort of relationship that was developing. I certainly knew how to be perceived I felt I had more to gain by leaving than by waiting meekly until they saw fit to see me.
Certainly a judgment and an element of risk are involved here, but in this case it worked. Another meeting was swiftly arranged. It started with more apologies –from both sides. I said I was sorry to have left, but had not wanted to let someone else down. It ended with a firm date set for the course in question.
- Customer focus does not imply subservience, so actively position yourself as someone with professional clout.
- Fit such action carefully to individual customers.