Customer relationships and sales pressure

I was recently in a meeting where a project was being initiated that needed a test facility for integration of different packages. I won’t go into the detail since it isn’t relevant to the overall discussion, and performance wasn’t the primary issue. I was struck by the usual “we can’t be the first people to need this” feeling and so, to cut a long story short, ended up calling Compuware to find out what they could offer.

I am usually nervous of talking to sales people because of the need to resist the pressure of sales people to buy their latest product portfolio. To say the least I was impressed by Compuware’s response – they didn’t try to sell me one of their tools at all. They listened to the situation and provided me with an introduction to another organisation that could solve the issue effectively. Interestingly, this will make it much more likely that I will contact them in the future – and so in a way the sales tactic may be effective in the long term.

I recount this partly because I was impressed with their attitude, and partly because I have been in a similar situation on the other side of the fence a few times of late. In potential sales situations it has been quite clear that the client does not need my services. I have decided that the best thing to do in this case is to offer the best advice I can, and provide an introduction to someone who can help them more effectively is that is relevant. If not, I will usually try to provide resources that that can help them from the internet. This is partly trying to do the best job I can, but it I also a form of enlightened self interest. Another time when they contact me then it may be in a situation where they do need my services.

If you need advice, therefore, please feel free to contact me at dh@sarquol.com, or call on +44 7887 536083. I won’t promise to provide hours of free consultancy, but neither will I be trying to sell you a service you don’t need.

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