Roman or Norman - A Customer Service Story

Written by Steve Waterhouse


Roman Or Norman? It's The Difference Between Being Seen As A Partner Or An Invader.

With all ofrepparttar discussion in recent years aboutrepparttar 139407 importance of understanding our customer's needs, it's a valuable exercise to try to see ourselves as we might be perceived by our customers.

For example, if a customer glances outrepparttar 139408 office window as we march fromrepparttar 139409 visitor's lot towards their fortress, briefcases and laptops in hand and a pocket full of business cards, do they see friend or foe? Invader or partner?

On a recent speaking engagement in England, I found myself thinking seriously about two different groups of our sales ancestors. We've learned a great deal from both, but it became clear to me that each has a far different message to tell in terms of how to deal with customers.

Back inrepparttar 139410 year 1066, an aggressive organization calling themselves "Normans" invaded England from what is present-day France. They were led by a loud, authoritarian sales manager who came to be known as Williamrepparttar 139411 Conqueror. You'd probably recognizerepparttar 139412 type. His goal is winning on his terms.

Now, Bill, as he was known to his closest friends, had done some fairly extensive market research and had determined thatrepparttar 139413 English were good fighters, but he felt that he was better. So his approach was to be tougher thanrepparttar 139414 other guy. He moved in, built forts, stole stuff and killed a lot of people. Needless to sayrepparttar 139415 English didn't care too much for him, so he had to spendrepparttar 139416 rest of his life in combat to hold on to what he had taken. Bill was convinced that this wasrepparttar 139417 only way to conquer a country and his loyal troops saw it that way too. After all, what else could you do sincerepparttar 139418 English never stopped fighting back? To this day,repparttar 139419 remains of Norman forts are scattered throughoutrepparttar 139420 countryside and every English child is taughtrepparttar 139421 date ofrepparttar 139422 battle of Hastings where Bill,repparttar 139423 Conqueror, struck his first blow. A thousand years have passed, andrepparttar 139424 "customer" is still angry.

If Bill had done a little historical research, however, he might have found a better way. A thousand years earlier, another sales manager, this time a Roman named Jontheous, attempted to takerepparttar 139425 English market by storm. Whenrepparttar 139426 locals fought back vigorously, however, he concluded that a lifetime of fighting wasn't going to be good for team morale. Jontheous pulled out, returned to corporate headquarters in Rome, and about ten years later revisited England - without an army. This time he brought with him architects, and priests, and teachers who moved in torepparttar 139427 local villages and cities and befriendedrepparttar 139428 citizens. They built water systems and sewage systems, and even forts and walls. But unlikerepparttar 139429 forts ofrepparttar 139430 Normans, Jontheous's walls didn't separaterepparttar 139431 Romans fromrepparttar 139432 locals. They surroundedrepparttar 139433 towns and offered protection to everyone. His people intermarried and learnedrepparttar 139434 local language. They even addedrepparttar 139435 local gods to Roman worship.

Jontheous and his followers lived in peace withrepparttar 139436 English for more than a hundred years and many cities they helped develop, such as London, still bear their mark. By about 125 ADrepparttar 139437 Romans were having trouble in other parts ofrepparttar 139438 empire and were forced to downsize and close some branch offices, so they departed, leaving behind a rich legacy of contribution. Their successful working relationship withrepparttar 139439 English people meant that afterrepparttar 139440 passage of some 2,000 years,repparttar 139441 people of England still speak well ofrepparttar 139442 Romans.

Today, however, even with allrepparttar 139443 emphasis on customer-focused selling, I still encounter far more Normans than Romans. I still see too many companies who perceiverepparttar 139444 client as something to be conquered rather than embraced. Justrepparttar 139445 other day, while waiting inrepparttar 139446 showroom of a local car dealer, I overheard a manager coaching a sales rep by saying, "There's a customer out there with bags of money. Go get it!"

Roman or Norman?

I've heard a vice president of a major software company tell a client that they had to be committed to their product 100% or they would be seen as enemies!

Good-Bye Bobby Knight And All The Sales Managers Like You!

Written by Steve Waterhouse


The recent dismissal of Bobby Knight asrepparttar head coach of Indiana University should mark as big a change for sales management as it did for coaching. For years it was popular for sales managers to abuse their staffs with tirades and threats. I remember one manager I worked for who prided himself in publicly humiliating at least one person in every weekly meeting. While this approach may have achieved results, it was still wrong. Beating a person might get them to behave, but it doesn't make it right.

I almost thought these Neanderthals had become extinct until I was sitting inrepparttar 139406 Red Carpet Room at O'Hare Airport last week. Behind me wasrepparttar 139407 loudest, most obnoxious representative of this breed. He was cursing a blue streak at full volume, so I had no choice but to listen in. It seems that a particular sales rep must have missed his quota last month and, inrepparttar 139408 words of my loud friend, it was because he was just plain lazy. And furthermore, if he didn't get onrepparttar 139409 stick he'd fire his sorry %?#. With that he slammed downrepparttar 139410 phone and I realized that he had been talking to this poor reps voice mail! The coward didn't even haverepparttar 139411 courtesy to be rude in person.

What follows, I swear, is true. Moments later, our Neanderthal took a call on his cell phone andrepparttar 139412 tone of his voice changed remarkably. He was calm and collected and even nice. As I listened in, he was telling a friend about a meeting with his boss who had apparently recommended that he get immediate counseling for anger management. (Imagine that!) He saidrepparttar 139413 boss let him know that it could affect his career. He told his friend thatrepparttar 139414 boss just didn't understand 'these guys' and if he did he'd be screaming, too. Then he confided in his friend that he had already startedrepparttar 139415 counseling and that he was going to try 'real hard' to make it work.

I noted that he never said his boss yelled at him or threatened him, although I believe his boss had cause. He actually spoke very nicely aboutrepparttar 139416 man who had just made it clear that his job was onrepparttar 139417 line if he didn't change immediately. And he referred torepparttar 139418 fact that he was taking action based onrepparttar 139419 advice he had received. It was clear to me that Mr. Loud and his boss had very different styles.

I wonder who getsrepparttar 139420 best results:repparttar 139421 screamer or his calm boss? I wonder which one builds a loyal team that will give their all to make goal inrepparttar 139422 tough months? I wonder which one has employees who recommend friends to join their company? I thinkrepparttar 139423 old style of management was a result of poor skills. Managers who lackedrepparttar 139424 knowledge to handle people properly resorted torepparttar 139425 techniques they learned in high school football. I don't know about you, but my high school football coach retired with a winning record and a small paycheck.

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