Partnering For Success September 4, 2009Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
Tags: Best Of 2009, Communication, Customer Service, Sales
I do more than my fair share of beating up vendors for poor sales practices (to whit: regarding honesty, inappropriate emails, and unsolicited appointments). It is only fair, then, to highlight a really good thing that happened recently with a few of my key vendors.
I like to meet with vendors on a quarterly basis. We split the meeting in half, discussing everything new in their world, and then everything new in mine. The idea is to keep everyone up-to-date and see what, if any, opportunities have arisen since our last meeting. Sometimes actions arise out of the meeting, and sometimes we jsut agree to see each other in three months. Either way, this method seems to work well in maintaining an appropriate relationship.
Recently, my VAR (Value Added Reseller) threw me a curve ball. What if, they suggested, we brought three vendors in at once, and had a joint meeting? Each vendor would talk about their areas, of course, but we could also explore overlaps and potential synergies between the vendors as well.
Well. I had never tried this before, and for the most part, neither had they. So we decided to give it a try. The vendors arrived, prepared to present using a pre-determined agenda. My team attended, anxious to see what they had to say.
It was great! As each vendor got up to speak, we started deep conversations about their technology as it related to the other vendors. In some cases, we jointly explored how this stuff might all work together. In others, vendors had to address conflicts and points of competition with respect to their peers.
My team learned a lot more in this one session than we would have from three individual meetings. I think the vendors got a better feel for how my group assesses technology as a whole, pulling from various vendors to create our solutions. Best of all, we had substantive conversations that went well beyond traditional vendor presentations.
I applaud the salespeople that agreed to present within this structure. They went out on a limb to take care of their customer, and we really appreciated it. It would have been easy to pass on the opportunity, but they stepped up and did something a little out of the ordinary. I also appreciate the efforts of my VAR who worked to arrange and coordinate the meeting. That “V” stands for “value,” and they clearly brought it to us that day.
I could write dozens of “bad salesman” posts for this blog. That’s not fair to the many good salespeople out there who never get a mention. This time, I offer a heart-felt “thank you” to all those salespeople who work so hard to creatively serve their customers. What’s the most creative thing you’ve had a salesperson do for you? Share it so we can all appreciate what good salespeople do.
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