What do you think of our company? CEO of AchieveGlobal Middle East, Matt Somers, takes a candid reflection on how our organization is perceived, and what why we should be partners.
I’ve been called many names in my time.
Vendor, consultant, agent, supplier, contractor, external, etc. maybe you have some of your own.
None aptly capture what I and my colleagues in our company seek to do and I wonder if the cold nature of the names create an assumption about the nature of any business relationship we might have: that I am here to sell you things you probably don’t want and your job is to politely resist.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Of course as a commercial organisation we have to sell our programs and services but we can only do this successfully when we work alongside our clients using the resources we have to properly, appropriately and professionally help them fix, avoid or accomplish something important in their organisation.
Ideally then I’d like you to think of me as your partner.
The problem is that before this can happen we need to have some kind of working relationship before the going gets tricky with detailed conversations around your needs, our services and how much matching the two might cost in time, money and the involvement of your people. So we reach out to you to suggest an initial meeting. Of course you get plenty of these requests each day, and this may cause you to think of me as a nuisance, when in reality starting a relationship with me could help you in the long run with your objectives, and would therefore be seen as a very valuable use of your time.
This came home to me in a recent exchange. I’d reached out to an old client, who we hadn’t worked with in a while, with a view to getting back in touch and understanding what was happening in their business. He sent me an email reply saying:
Hi Matt I am sorry I just don’t have an opportunity for bringing in externals at the moment but I appreciate your staying in contact and should an opportunity arise I will come back to you, best regards. John
Thanks for this reply John and for your honesty.
As it happens we’re not really looking for assignments at the moment. In fact my operational team would likely throttle me if we had to schedule any more projects this year.
Relationships are more important to me than transactions and I don’t think we’ve necessarily managed them as well as we could in the past, hence my email.
I’ll be in Dubai from Sunday and would be happy to meet if only to establish a proper connection. Having said that, I can well imagine that you are very busy and so we can leave things as they are and well try to keep in touch in a light-handed way
After which I received a calendar invite about two minutes later. My guess being because my customer realised I wan’t coming to ‘pitch’ to them to use that awful expression.
As it happens John and I had a fantastic meeting talking about the challenges the ferocious growth in his business is creating and what he is planning as an L&D response. It may be that we can help, we’ll see, but that’s a conversation for another day. But John and I now have a relationship and a basis for honest discussions going forward
So, we’re going to continue to use that first, exploratory meeting as a key way to reaching out to new and existing clients.
And some time later you may even come to think of us as your partners!