Choosing NOT to Do Business with a Customer

“A good vendor is as important as a good customer.”

Those words were spoken to me nearly, gulp, 30 years ago when I was a young sales rep. It’s a long story, but my client wanted me to know how much he valued my company. The comment stuck, and I decided to spread the word by printing it at the bottom of my business cards.

What a great line! You can’t imagine how good I felt when my selling efforts were noticed and rewarded. It made me think about my clients differently from that point forward.

Specifically, it got me thinking about the kind of company I wanted as a customer. We sometimes forget that we, too, have a choice in whom we do business with. Despite the fact that there is a lot a printer will put up with in order to get the business, the line needs to be drawn when there is a lack of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Have you ever called a company and left multiple voice mail messages with the same person? OK, I get it; they’re busy. But my unscientific and highly suspect government-funded research (consisting of my asking the question in a seminar and then blowing the grant money on a G5) suggests that 90 percent of the time, a sales rep makes one call and never calls again.

So, why can’t someone pay me the courtesy of a return phone call (even if it is to say, “Please stop calling me!”)? That’s bad business. That’s a lack of respect. And that’s no one that I wish to call “customer.”

And then there’s the other end of the transaction. You bust your hump for a client and the invoice goes unpaid for 45, 60, 90 days or longer. What kind of a “thank you” is that? Honestly, I don’t care what the reason is (ex. “I am waiting for my client to pay me.”), the best way to show a vendor appreciation is to pay the bill on time. Chasing receivables sucks, especially when that client calls and needs a rush delivery.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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