Trade Show TalesBlog

Put Me in Coach: Word on the Street — Oct. 17th thru Oct. 21st

October 23rd, 2011 COMMENTS
Put Me in Coach

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

We’ve All Been There

We’ve all been in the position where we’ve been trying to get “that one account” for . . . forever. You patiently wait, all the while maintaining contact and slowly building a relationship, biding your time until the current vendor makes a mistake or there’s a project they either can’t do or aren’t willing to try.

Then it happens . . . you get the call. Like that rookie quarterback in the NFL who gets called into a game mid season when the veteran QB gets knocked out. It’s your chance to shine and show off.

One of two things happen: you dazzle them, eventually winning their business, or, you choke and throw four interceptions to lose the game.

While I agree it’s not always fair, if the latter happens you most likely will not get another chance anytime soon. And in our industry, you probably caused the customer a lot of unplanned time, angst, and money.

So what do you do when that opportunity finally comes? Let me make a few simple suggestions.

#1. Breathe deeply. 🙂

#2. It sounds simple, but don’t do anything different than you already do for your best customers. Remember what earned you your reputation, namely that you have a great company with great products. Maintain those same principles.

#3. While I don’t suggest you do anything differently, I would suggest that people at every level of your company be made aware of the new project. Heightened awareness is never a bad thing. And, let’s be real. You’ve been waiting for this for a very long time. So everyone needs to know.

#4. Understand that you are dealing with someone new. Adapt a bit. They are used to dealing with another company. Meaning they are used to working with a company that has learned what it is like to work with them for 5, 10, 15 years. You are new to them. So don’t assume anything.

#5. Finally, approach all aspects of it honestly. The customer will appreciate it. While we all appreciate when someone can pull a rabbit out of a hat, we don’t expect it. People are more forgiving than we give them credit for. It’s all new at that point, and you might as well own that together. It will only help to build the relationship. And at the end of the day, the new client will likely appreciate being “managed” a bit rather than feeling like they have to “manage” the project.

While those are just some brief thoughts, I am sure you can draw from your experiences to add more. Please do share.

Hope you have a great and restful weekend. Be well.

–Kevin Carty

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