Those of us who have spent our lives in sales, sometimes forget who really matters. As we pursue those elusive orders or solve problems, meet challenges, and soothe angry customers, it is easy for us to forget those who are really doing the work. The ones who are back at the shop, sweating it out so that all of us on the team can make a living.
While we’re at lunch complaining that the air conditioning in this restaurant is always set too cold, we should think about the folks working in the plating department where it is over 100 degrees on this pleasant July day. While we’re playing customer golf later, they’ll be plating hundreds of panels and sweating their you-no-what’s off all day for a pay that is a fraction of ours. Always being extremely careful because if they miss something there will be hell to pay and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!
While we sit impatiently waiting for that buyer who is always late, we should think about those Quality inspectors visually checking hundreds of square inches of board surface for hours on end, atop metal stools in back-breaking positions, squinting through scopes making sure that the products you’re selling will be perfect. Always being extremely careful because if they miss something there will be hell to pay and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!
Or when we’re stuck in traffic with nothing to do but turn up the radio and listen to the ball game for hours on end, furious about something we can do nothing about, remember those people in the drill department watching and monitoring as those drills pound out thousands even hundreds of thousands of holes making sure they are all perfectly round and in dimension and making sure they are all there, because if even one is missing, there will be hell to pay, and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!
Or when you’re trying to relax at home around your pool in the late afternoon, you should remember those who have just come onto second shift, getting briefed to make sure they work on all of the right stuff for the next eight hours, before handing the work off to the graveyard shift that comes in at eleven, ready for the hand off to make sure that everything runs smoothly so that boards will be delivered on time and you won’t receive any grief when you meet with the customer the next day. Because if you do, there will be hell to pay and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!
Or when you’re catching up with your Facebook friends late in the evening and a message comes up letting you know that your largest customer’s hot boards are going to be delivered at five tomorrow morning a few hours ahead of schedule. You should remember the people that made that happen. All those nameless, faceless, people who we never take the time to acknowledge, or even get to know, until something goes wrong. Because if it does, there will be hell to pay and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!
Or when you’re calling your boss to complain that once again that quote to your customer, the one they sent in almost four hours ago, is almost a half hour late; telling him that you cannot possible succeed out here in the field if this is the kind of support you’re going to get from inside sales, regardless of how many complicated quotes they are trying to get done that day, for not only for other customers but the rest of the sales team’s customers as well. Remember the time you tried to do a quote to find out “just how hard this could be?” and gave up after fifteen minutes, because it was too boring and much too complicated. Remember that?
And then, when you’re booking that huge order, the one that is going to put you over the top. The one that is going to earn you that five-thousand-dollar bonus. Before, you decide to celebrate by singing “I Did It My Way” into your soap on a rope in front of your bathroom mirror, try to remember that no, you did not do it your way. That it took many people working in the shadows of the shop, in cold and in heat in all conditions both at home and at work to get that order. You were just the one privileged enough to be carrying the bag for your company. That company that has done everything they could to guarantee your success. The entire company won that order and that’s what you should be celebrating as you bask in the glory of victory. Because without those people back at the shop working tirelessly hour after hour, day after day, we in sales would have nothing to sell. Everything we do in sales is dependent on those people working so unglamorously back at the shop. Never ever forget that. It’s only common sense