Isn’t It Nice When Everything’s Nice?
I don’t know about you, but I blame The Apprentice. There’s this view that the world of business is cut-throat, that you have to seize the day by the throat, and that you’re best off with a single vendor because it’s simpler to have “one throat to choke.”
Sounds exhausting, and I’m already getting sympathy pains in my neck from all this throat cutting, seizing and choking.
Life’s better, business is better, when everything’s that bit simpler, calmer and less aggressive. When we all work to get along instead of trying to one-up or intimidate the people we need to work with.
It’s nice when everything’s nice. And that means we need to end:
Pressure Vendors and Pushy Salespeople
There are vendors out there - tech companies and software developers - who don’t have the best of reputations. You know who they are. And you know why they have that reputation. It’s because some of their tactics come across as too pushy - even predatory. And that their practices almost seem designed to shake the coins out of customers’ pockets.
It all starts with their initial pitch. That overconfident bull in a china shop salesman, who charges in with a high-pressure script designed to scare you into making a purchase before you’re ready. You’ve heard it. “IF YOU DON’T BUY THIS TODAY THEN HACKERS WILL STEAL YOUR DATA TOMORROW AND YOU’LL BE FINED-” it goes on.
I’ve always found that it’s better to find vendors that always treat me and my clients with respect, and to make sure that ICA’s sales team are focused on what’s best for you instead of what’s best for us. Naive? No way. I prefer aspirational.
Treating Customers as the Enemy
There’s something I really don’t like. People who claim their customers are stupid. Who say things like “Aren’t they foolish, trying to tell me they know more with their ‘the customer is always right’ attitude and their inability to tell VPS from VOIP.” What an unpleasant attitude to have.
Your customers aren’t foolish. Our customers aren’t foolish. You aren’t foolish. You’re just experts in different fields. If you’re an expert in communications technology, you wouldn’t need ICA, so it’d be ridiculous of me to assume that you’d know every single acronym I use. It’s my job to inform you, explain things to you, guide you. Not snarl and snark because you’re not as informed about a market I’ve moved in for years.
But it’s a two-way street. We have to treat you with respect, not insulting your intelligence and not coming across as smug and superior. But we have to expect respect too.
Unfortunately, the customer isn’t always right. Sometimes you’ll ask for something that we know - because of years of experience - is the wrong approach. So instead of being adversaries, let’s be allies. After all, we all want the same thing. To do what’s right for our businesses.
So What To Do For a Nicer Business World?
Let’s stop thinking of the world in terms of us and them. As predatory vendors and demanding customers. As aloof, superior “experts” and ignorant, idiot “consumers.”
Let’s choose a different word. Partner.
If we’re all partners, then we’re all on the same team. We’re all pulling in the same direction, working together to reach that same goal. Mutual success. We want to find you the best products - so that makes the vendor more money. We want to make sure they do everything you need them to - so that you see more success. And we want to keep doing that so that ICA builds a productive long-term relationship.
Everyone wins. No throats need to be cut, grabbed or choked. Everything’s a little nicer.
And isn’t it nice when everything’s nice?