Doing the Right Thing Is Easy

the right decision

Since I start off columns with a quote more often than not, I begin to feel like it’s expected of me. So let’s lead off with this one, it’s one of my favorites: Salvador Dali said “[Everything] is either easy or impossible.”

Normally when I bust that aphorism out, it’s in reference to having the right tools for the job. In this case, it’s about making decisions. That said, I received an email the other day from my contact at one of my vendors. It looped me into a discussion that had been ongoing between my vendor contact, and a senior engineer at an industrial end-user company.

The engineer had reached out to my vendor contact, who is also an engineer, and the two of them had been nerding out for several days (I really did read back through the older emails in the thread I was cc’d into) and had arrived at a bill of materials that would achieve the result the end user was looking for.

That’s when I got looped in, as the vendor’s distributor rep, and my contact quipped in the email, “My friend Lee should be able to give you a good deal!”

The end user then emailed me, asking for a quote.

Oh hey great, you say. A sale!

Well, yes, but hold up.

I immediately recognized the name of the end-user company. That’s because it is the biggest customer of one of my biggest customers. I know that because I talk all the time with my biggest customers, and believe it or not, I actually listen to what they tell me. So I am more than familiar with who their customers are, and what they buy from them.

So, knowing that, the decision was easy.

First, I called my vendor contact and lovingly gave him a hard time. I let him know that the end user is the biggest customer of one of my biggest customers and that my biggest customer is by extension one of his biggest customers.

“Ooooh, got it!” he responded. And he did — because he’s smart.

Next, I called the account manager at my dealer who manages that industrial account and brought him to speed on the conversation his customer had been having with our vendor.

Lastly, I replied to the email thread, looping in the account manager, and assured the end user that both I and his account manager at my dealer would take good care of him.

His response was to the point — “Thanks, Lee!”

All of this took place before 9 a.m.

Making a sale is great and everything, but never just look at a sale as a sale; it’s the relationships that matter.

I can’t imagine anything dumber than torpedoing a business relationship that I’ve spent years developing to cut them out and deal directly with their customer. That’s not how it works.

And in this instance, that attitude turned one sale into two sales, one for my dealer, and one for me. That way everyone is happy.