The Client-Vendor Relationship

I am the technology head for a high profile organization. I receive a lot of solicitations. I remember what it used to be like when I was in sales. The big fish were the ones that were most intimidating. Their decision cycles were longer, they had more elaborate and formal buying procedures and then there was the bidding process. I remember being envious of the people I dealt with; my customers. My view was a bit unbalanced at the time but one notion that hasn’t changed is my disagreement with the idea of an “us and them” game where one side will lose for the other to win.

I have a lot of respect for good salespeople. I view them as partners who help me get my job done and if there is one point that I can make regarding the value of a good high-tech salesperson, it is the importance of the of the vendor-client relationship and how that contributes to my success. This doesn’t mean I give all prospectors a red carpet welcome. All good relationships start with the first contact yet I screen my calls. I rarely answer emails. I don’t often grant time for appointments. This is only a reflection of market reality: a lot of people contact me. I get pitches for all sorts of concepts, things and services. Some of these things I’ve never heard of. This goes with the territory when in the technology field. It takes me an immense amount of time to wade through information being presented to me.

So how does contact get made given these realities? It isn’t a perfect science. There is a bit of a balancing act to carry out: be persistent yet not annoying, be aggressive but not forceful, and be respectful but not to the point of being patronizing. These traits, or this balancing act, serve the ongoing relationship just as well. These are all traits I have found in the people I like dealing with most.

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