Category Archives: Case Study

Stop Asking For Commitments You Haven’t Earned

When you’ve earned a commitment, you are right to ask for it. When you haven’t earned the right, you are asking because you want what you want when you want it. This is what toddlers and bullies do (Iannarino, 2015).

A week ago, I was tasked to find an insurance partner for our  new project. After not receiving feedback from one of the companies I emailed, I called them up and looked for the person in charge. When I got connected to the Business Development person, I explained what the project was and what the available information were. To my surprise, the BD person cut me, gave me her email address and just told me to email the information I was already giving. I told her that the project is already ongoing so I asked if there is anyone available right then to accommodate me. She said she was the only person in charge and that she’s busy at the moment – she didn’t even ask for my contact details.

I was flustered!

I never experienced such rude treatment from a BD professional before. Nonetheless, I still emailed her the general details to which I received a template reply asking for a list of accreditation requirements.

That’s it – I’m done with this company! The salesperson didn’t listen, didn’t care, was selfish, and lazy! She asked for too much without giving me anything in return – an important insight, a promise of helping me with my situation, and/or a commitment that their service will deliver.

Such a situation does not apply to sales people alone, everyone involved in the business of selling, providing service, or customer care must learn that we shouldn’t expect much from our stakeholders without showing them that we are willing to do as much, in fact, more for them! We have to be the one to do the work first – If you want commitment and sincerity, be committed and sincere with them. Do your due diligence. If you want them to give you information about their business, give them information about the market. If you want them to award you the business, give them reason to do so. You have to know what you want and pay it in advance.

When you’ve earned a commitment, you are right to ask for it. When you haven’t earned the right, you are asking because you want what you want when you want it. This is what toddlers and bullies do (Iannarino, 2015).

So tell me, are you a professional or a toddler?

Hustle.
Arlet

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When to Bring our Ops Team to a Sales Call?

I called Charles for the first time, and asked his feedback regarding the partnership that my previous incumbent (Vanessa) proposed. Charles was annoyed with my question, and told me that meeting Vanessa was a big waste of time.

“She went to my office without knowing a single thing about my company. I had to explain what we do, who our clients are, and everything else that can be easily seen in our website!” Charles exclaimed.

I apologized, and tried to press for more information about their requirements. Unfortunately, Charles was no longer in the mood to give me information other than, “the project is already ongoing.” Fortunately, I was able to secure another meeting with him to discuss the project.

I went to our project manager, James, and requested for him to join the meeting. Since the project is already ongoing, it would save a lot of time if James can get the operational concerns ready so that we can fast track the partnership. Unexpectedly, Charles didn’t attend the meeting and booked us with his subordinates instead.

It turns out that the project will be live 2-3 months from now. Most of the information that James needed were still being explored by management, and James had to do a report first on our potential operational capabilities for their segment for us to be given the business.

I saw James make face and lose interest in the discussion. After the meeting, he complained that I wasted his time on an exploratory meeting. I felt guilty for wasting his time on a meeting that I could have handled. However I felt that it was the right decision to be overly prepared this time than risk irking the client a second time and probably the last time. And until now, this is what I believe in. Nonetheless, after thinking about it deeply, there could have been nuances and actions that I could have done to ensure that everything is aligned:

When including people in a meeting, make them understand your goals for that meeting first, and then inform them why they are necessary in achieving those goals. Ask them for their own goals, and confirm that each are aligned. Otherwise, reconsider having them there.

What do you think? Are there other ways you know to avoid “wasting” the time of our operations people on sales calls, exploratory meetings, and basically tasks outside actual operations? Let me know!

Hustle.
Arlet

Anything Less of Helping is Bullshit

When I was starting out, I came across a client who needed our services badly. I pitched in the idea and was called for a presentation meeting. I went to the client’s office and everything went well – or so I thought.

When I was following up, I couldn’t get a hold of the client anymore. She was always out, “in a meeting,” is “speaking with someone,” etc. She was being passive aggressive with me (the type I find the most frustrating – but that’s up for another story.)

Anyway in my head, I was so mad at her for wasting my time.

Weeks later, I found out that the client didn’t buy from our competitors either. And then months later, I found out that they still have the same problem. That’s when I felt silly for being mad. You see, we’re supposed to be here to help our clients. We shouldn’t get mad if they decide that they don’t want our help, and more so if they cannot decide at all.

Speaking of helping, make sure that you are there until the help is delivered – whether the delivery shall be done by you or by another team. You were the one who sold them the product, don’t be an asshole and tell them that it isn’t your problem anymore.

Remember that your client’s pains are your pains, and their triumphs are your triumphs as well. Anything less, and you should probably rethink the whole idea of being a sales professional for a service-oriented company.

Hustle.
Arlet

What Remains after the Bridge is Burned?

I inevitably burned the bridge with my boss during my first job. He was very much against my resignation and was asking if I could stick around until the company’s transition was over. I declined and no word was ever spoken between us again.

More than a year later, the bridge is no longer there, but the people remain. The memory of good times and gratitude remains, but the unnecessary anger brought about by immaturity and ego faded with time. I now see my misguided judgment in the past. I was wrong, but it doesn’t mean that I have to keep it that way:

Dear Sir ABC,

How are you? I hope you’re doing well, and that you’re not too swamped with work just as before.

A year ago, I was very immature in leaving without regard. I deeply apologize for that. I wanted to travel, and I did – for around 6 months, but reality caught up with me. I had to make ends meet. I was forced to go back to Manila and enter the corporate world once again.

Now I’m working for another firm and living on my own. In doing so, I realized a lot of things.

I love ABC Company and I owe a lot to you.

I am so grateful to you for trusting me to deal with important clients, for making me feel that I matter, and that my suggestions matter. Working for a relatively bigger firm, I sometimes feel insignificant. Just recently, I thought of quitting (again,) but I remember regretting my decision to quit ABC Company so I’m trying to stick it out and find ways on how to maximize this opportunity better. I hope it works, haha.

Thanks for everything, Sir ABC! I am truly grateful to your mentorship and guidance. I wish you all the best!

My manager’s reply put an almost permanent smile on my face. Let’s just say, a new bridge with stronger foundation was built. What did I say before? Rejection (or anything else for that matter) is never final. As long as we are willing and decided, we can always do something to try and correct our mistakes.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, everyone!

Arlet

Month 6: Even the Devil is Into Details

“To leave something important to you unrefined, uniterated, first drafted is the laziest safety net you can deploy.”

A few weeks ago, I met two traditional Chinese honchos for possible partnership. I called their company way back and received feedback recently. I went to the meeting with little knowledge about the industry they are in – expecting that they will be sharing this detail with me during the probing stage. But the two gentlemen were different.

They refused to tell me anything unless I impress them with what I know about their industry. They saw through my lack of preparation quickly and asked me to leave.

It was one of the most embarrassing moments in my career. I was lazy. There was no other way to put it.

I apologized for my lack of preparation and admitted that I did a bad job today. Consequently, I asked them if I can go back to them at a later time when I have all the answers they need. They consented – but the second meeting is yet to materialize.

Their consent must probably to save me face only, but I’m glad I experienced such. I would have not woken up from such a shameful habit – sloth. After all, even the devil is into details.

Struggling,

Arlet