Vendors: It’s Never About You

Today, I write angry. And sometimes, writing angry is good (in moderation) for the soul.

I am tired of all the nonsense.

I am tired of macho vendors wasting my time telling me about their greatness.

I fall asleep during their ‘pitch’ as they prattle on:

  • Look at all my awards, accolades, client logos.
  • Look at my fancy case studies and customer testimonials.
  • Oh, did I tell you that Gartner and Forrester recognized me as Bad A** of the Decade.

Honestly, I don’t care. Truthfully, I should have walked out of the room – without saying a word.
This doesn’t take a surgeon to figure out, but…..

I have a problem that needs to be solved, and you are not giving me a chance to give you the details.

Instead, there you go again, droning on and on about how your solution works for pharma, oil and gas and education, but I work in real estate.

If you are doing it right, you’d trash that Powerpoint presentation. Tip: you spent too much time fiddling with the animation. A better use of your time would have been engaging me in some dialogue. You would ask probing questions and get an understanding of how I spend my days, what problems I face and the challenges I expect ahead. I get goosebumps just thinking about that nirvana state.

Here’s another Texas-sized tidbit for you: go to the whiteboard.

I’ll see you as a stronger, more confident leader if you head to the whiteboard, pen in hand, and recap what I just told you and then demonstrate how your firm can help.

If I see another slide about how your irresistible, darling-of-a-startup just scored a 17th round of Series B funding and your executive team came from Google, Apple, and Facebook, I think my brain might just split into pieces. I don’t care if you are ready to declare your IPO (good luck with that one — most IPOs woefully underperform).

Make your visit about me. Build rapport. Ask me about my kids, wife, and my hobbies. Make me a human being — not just another meeting on your busy day.

Show me how you’ve listened to my concerns and how you (without a shadow of a doubt) can help me.

Then, maybe then, I’ll consider your offer to work with our company.

Final suggestion: Leave the phone in the car. The most important thing should be meeting with our team. Less distraction equals more focus on our needs.

The best thing: I am not angry anymore.

Until next time,
Dan Naden

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