by Planit Canada President, Peter Mate
There’s always that one guy… Or that pivotal event that sticks in your head. That thing or that person you look back on and realize it was at that moment you grew a little as a person.
I’ve always been pretty patient, but there was this one time early in my career when I met someone who provided me with just such an opportunity to grow. While I was demonstrating a software to this prospective client – and I just hit a brick wall. I was young and I knew my stuff when it came to the software, but I knew little about people and emotions. This prospect didn’t seem to get what I was showing him and kept referring to my then-competitor as being cheaper for “the same thing”. I tried and tried several different ways of showcasing the differences between my software and the competition, but after one too many rebuttals, it simply got to me. I closed my laptop in the middle of the demonstration and said to the prospect that he perhaps the other software was a better fit for him.
Lucky for me, he didn’t let the demo, or our relationship, end there. He saw that I was deflated and stopped me from leaving. He asked me to please continue and to explain it to him one more time. I pushed through, and I’m so, so glad that I did.
That prospect eventually became a great customer; we ended up working well together and accomplished a lot. It was a great time for both of us. Not only that – he was the only customer attending my wedding a few years later. He made the trip from Toronto to Montreal to be there for my special day. What a turn of events! What a long way from an almost-failed sales visit.
I now have the privilege of watching my own team develop these relationships. Our techs work very closely with our customers and in their line of work – as teachers, advisors, and emergency support staff – you can’t help but form some meaningful bonds. Our techs love our industry, they are our customers’ biggest advocates and it makes me proud when I see the relationships they build along the way. Maybe one day they’ll tell me about the times they almost walked out, but didn’t.