Can you feel me now?
I’ve worked with vendors on software and services for many years and know how to separate the good ones (and they’re out there) from the rest. It comes with the territory.
So, if you’re a provider and you’re already good you can stop reading now: see? I just saved you time.
If however you haven’t really hit your stride yet, and you don’t know why customers aren’t calling you back, let me share three simple things which will help you help me which in the end is good for us both.
See what I did there? That’s called a win/win.
- Meet me where I live – I understand how cool and tech-savvy my town is: its one of many reasons I live here [Ed. Note: there are no apts. left – do not move here.] But small businesses are very selective about software solutions and tools. You’re not going to impress me but telling me what other companies do – or have. You’re going to wow me if you take the time to understand where I am in my sector, why I’ve made some of the choices I have with software and services, and what you can do – for me and my business – going forward. Just a tip – I spend a lot more time thinking about my own business than anyone else’s
- Stop promising and start delivering – If I had a nickel for every time a vendor said they were the best in the business and then staggered when I asked them to explain why they thought that I’d be on a beach and you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Please: stop the horse shit. Its beneath me and probably you. Figure out exactly what you’re good at, leverage that and be prepared for a real discussion with me. I’m about to spend my company’s money: we take that seriously, so I won’t give it to a partner who is unclear about their offering or advantage. Talk less, deliver more
- Be clear about what happens after the sale – If you’re net 30, don’t shake my tree at day 20. If your support team is offshore tell me now. If you outsource your design let’s discuss that sooner rather than later. Things are often fine prior to the sale: I’m a lot more interested in the nature of our relationship afterwards. Bring out all your questions, needs and interests before the fact because bad news, unlike wine, does not get better with time. I need to know how we’ll do business on an on-going basis because we’re planning on staying around. If you want to partner with me, don’t surprise me with after-the-fact matters we could have reviewed earlier
Lots of small businesses have vendor relationships that work, and in those the above points are solidly in place. Yes, you need good product, support, pricing, etc. But you also need to look at my business as singularly as I do – it matters to me. So treat me like a valued partner and I’ll probably do the same.
Oh, one more thing: don’t bring donuts by the office any more – we’ve got a wellness thing going on.