Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Long Overdue Letter to my Customers

And here it is, my long overdue letter to my customers....(in which I say what I've really been thinking, having nothing to lose.)

Dear customer,

I really do like you. Heck, I love some of you. That's the hardest part of being a sales guy. It's also the best part. You see, we start as strangers and gradually get to know each other. Sometimes you're a little standoffish at first, and sometimes we just don't click.  Rarely, but that's the truth. No one is to blame. Most of the time a relationship of trust and professional respect grows. And then after a time and when the sale is done I have to move on (and so do you). While we're not exactly breaking up, I am seeing other people too.  Sure we still keep in touch, but I'm going to miss the closeness of a tight and productive and intense negotiation between two pros who reached the best possible agreement for their respective organizations.  But then the contract is signed and we have to stop calling each other every 20 minutes. I admit it; it does feel a little like a grade 9 break-up but yes, we're still friends!  And I'm going to do everything I can to be your trusted go-to guy for exactly what you need next. 

You see, whether I've been selling you dishwashers and chemicals in restaurants and hotels in downtown Toronto, or the no-dicker sales experience if you bought a Saturn or Saab from me, all those years in the restaurant biz, or in the hotel and convention sales in which I wrap up my career, one thing has been true. 

I really like you, most of you. I think most people like me, but hey, some don't. That's cool. And although we now have a name for it, "relationship selling" has always been instinctually good practice.  Good for the soul, good for a good night's sleep, tremendously fulfilling and yes I'll say it, financially rewarding for the most ambitious and confident of risk-takers. And I have met so many very cool people, each with a story of their own to tell.  When I learned of my illness some of the very first people to whom I reached out (after family) were my good friends who started out as prospective customers. 

Dear customer, dear friend, I like you. I want to hear about your hobbies, interests, families, sorrows and triumphs...whatever you want to talk about, if you want to talk about it. I know we'll get to the sales part soon enough, and yes, I will employ some techniques and tactics to close the deal IF it's good for both of us, but you're a pro and you'd expect nothing less from me. But having a laugh over a coffee or lunch when I'm in your town?  Hanging out at a convention?  Having some of the best fun I've ever had?  Facebook?  That's all real.

So thanks. I have never taken a minute of it for granted. 

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