“Well, that didn’t go the way I expected,” Nancy said after ending a sales call.
“Oh yeah?” I asked.
“Yeah, I kind of got beat up. She wasn’t really interested in our programs as they are, but gave me a lecture about what was wrong with them and told me how we were going to do them for her,” she replied.
“Ah,” I said. “How did you handle it?”
“Well, I kind of got a little bit defensive, and I think I may have come off as a little inflexible,” Nancy said.
“Good,” I said. “I’m glad you got a little ticked off.”
“Really, I thought you were going to be upset,” she said.
“Upset? Nope. I think you had the right reaction. Don’t spend another second thinking about that prospect. They’re not a good fit for us.”
But why should being a good “fit” matter? I mean, isn’t fit just about whether the check will clear? Isn’t cash, king? I don’t think so.
One of the most important things I try to instill in our team is to take tremendous pride in what we are doing. (Note that I am using the word “pride” in its most positive sense.) I think this is important because pride translates to superior work and a better product. On the sales side, a feeling of pride is essential if one is to communicate the value proposition at hand passionately. Once ingrained, why would anybody who was proud of what they were offering not take umbrage with the belittling of it? Taking exception with such ill treatment is a necessary by-product of the correct attitude.
But there is even more going on here — there is teambuilding. My response to Nancy puts meaning behind the statement that we are truly a team, that someone cannot flatter one while hectoring the other.
Lest you think we are an arrogant bunch, think again. On the sales side, we strive to be the best marketing partner anyone ever had. Thus, if you come to us in the spirit of partnership, if you respect what we bring to the table and want to leverage it, if you are nice, give Nancy a call. But if you think that, just because you got kicked — and the dog happens to be otherwise occupied — you are going to kick our salesperson because she has to take it, think again.
Does your IT team deserve anything less than such support and, if necessary, defense, after being thrashed by a frustrated clinician? Not if you want to have a group of folks to whom the moniker “team” could justly be applied.
To this column, the sales veteran might say, “You’re crazy, Anthony. You can’t run a company like that. You just don’t get it.”
To which I would reply as Lyndon Johnson did when aides told him that to push for a civil rights bill was political suicide. “Well,” Johnson said, “what the hell’s the presidency for?”
If, as the leader of this organization, I can’t insist our folks are treated with respect, I might justly express the same sentiment. As a leader in your organization, I hope you feel the same way.