Let’s start with this. I believe in the golden rule and that buyers and sellers should stop playing buyer/seller games, treat each other the way they want to be treated and that both should stop using tricks to get their way.
Now, the story…
I’m coaching a client that’s on an ‘approved list’ for a mother company. The plus side is that he gets calls. The minus is that his competitors are above and below him on the list and they get calls, too. However, we’ve increased his sales by 500% in 6 months. So, if I suggest something he does it.
On 7/1, he asked for help with an upcoming appointment with a manager who said that they were the decision maker on a project. So, I coached him on the appointment.
On 7/13, I received this email, “That manager stood me up for our scheduled appointment a couple of weeks ago and then was late for our last appointment so I didn’t call them back. I didn’t call the CEO. What action (if any) do you think I should take?
More background: I know and respect the CEO. He’s at least as good as me and probably better. However, it bugs me that he’s using a manager to waste my client’s time. He ’tasked’ his manager with the research even though he was the one with compelling reasons, motivation and decision making authority.
I suggested that my client send this email. ”Your manager is so busy playing silly prospect games that they’re losing focus on the reason that you want my help. Mr. CEO, I recognize that you are a valued customer and were referred to me by the mother company. I value my relationship with the mother company. Nonetheless, I can’t work this way. Please put yourself in my place and hopefully you’ll understand. Thank you for the opportunity. Sorry it didn’t work out.”
My client received this email from the CEO.
7/14 – Sorry it didn’t work out. Not sure (why you responded the way you did) but I assure you that it had nothing to do with our decision to work with another provider. I understand that you are one of the best and wish you great success. I don’t know that I wouldn’t call a prospect if they were a no show or if they failed to call at exactly on time. My largest account is notorious for lateness and an occasional cancellation.
Naturally, I got this email from my client. “Any advice on how to respond to this one?”
So, I coached him again.
He received this email from the CEO, today.
My manager doesn’t know anything about your comments so that didn’t enter their thought process. Before I called you yesterday I called them to find out where we where and here is the gist of that discussion:
1. Very impressed with your company
2. More expensive then others
3. We are in belt tightening mode
4. We will attempt to do what we think we need to do with internal resources for now
So we didn’t contract with anyone and we will go at this internally for now. The mother company speaks highly of you and my manager was very impressed with your services and work and am sure given different circumstances we would have worked together. things change so keep my manager posted as to what is happening at your company. My manager also has a tendency to recommend people to strong sources.
Did you notice that the CEO wrote, “it had nothing to do with our decision to work with another provider.” on 7/14 and “we didn’t contract with anyone and we will go at this internally for now” today? The bottom line is that the truth didn’t happen until my client got the attention of the CEO. “They’re in belt tightening mode.”
My client is absolutely the best at what he does. He works long hours and bends over backward for his clients. My client closed his file on this prospect until I called him and said, “I like this CEO. Call him and say, ‘Mr. CEO, I want to help you. What if you and I talk a little about what you really want to get done and where you want to be. I’ll do it and when we’re done, you pay me what you think it’s worth?’”
I’ll let you know what happens.
If you want to get to decision makers, stop playing with people that don’t make the rules.