Please excuse my rustic words. But this issue is important to me, and I want to be straight forward with this.
Let me tell you why I want to talk about this. Sometimes companies get in touch with me and ask me to write an offer. And then nothing happens anymore. I don’t hear anything, and the contact persons aren’t reachable anymore. Even with longstanding clients, something like that happened. We agreed to be in touch, and when I tried to reach them, they weren’t available anymore.
And before you come to false conclusions: No, it’s not because I am annoying or that I crossed a border. I am sure I did that in other cases, but in these cases, I know that there is another problem. My clients would have to turn down my offer and don’t dare to. To be honest, I don’t care if they do. That is part of the business, and most of the time, there are very good reasons to do so. But I want to know and not to call over and over again. That is annoying and costs time and money. But the contact persons prefer to go out of my way and avoid to confront me with the truth.
On this occasions, I ask myself if it’s only a phenomenon that concerns talking to suppliers or do they lack courage too, when it comes to clients.
I am afraid the problem takes place in both directions. If it gets uncomfortable, many people try to get out of the situation. Here are some examples:
- A sales team protests as the management introduces a very reasonable minimal quantity surcharge. Instead of talking to the clients they block the new procedure.
- Another team prefers to gossip over a price increase in front of the clients instead of bringing it through in the interest of their own company.
- Clients don’t get information about delivery problems until they notice them themselves
These are just some examples I experience in my daily business. I don’t think that’s ok. To address problems openly is part of the job of a salesperson. Although the client pays your salary indirectly, you only get it, if your employer is economically healthy.
I do not like conflicts either. But I learned that difficult situations are best dealt with if you address them offensively and rapidly. In most cases, it’s possible to find solutions once an issue is on the table. Most clients are way more open than you might think. Price increases, changes of terms and conditions and all other problems happen in other companies too. Your conversational partners, therefore, know that.
And at the end, I want to go back to where I started: If you really have to turn down one of my offers, please just do it. I promise I will not bite your head off. There will be a future project, and then I have another opportunity to convince you.