Tag Archives: relationship

Can I just pretend I really, really care about you and send you an e-card for Christmas?

This weekend, the missus and I wrapped up our shopping for family for the holidays.  I have to say: “We were more thoughtful this year than any time previously…”

(at least I thought so)

We really thought through the whole process and I am pumped by the stack of “stuff” sitting in our kitchen that needs to be wrapped.

It’s about the relationship, right?

There are people you care about — people around whom you really want to build a history.  It kind of parallels your deal making process.

Makes sense, right?  You want to do business with people that you can stand being around.  People you like.

That’s about building a relationship.  Not seasonal email torpedoing.  But a consistent communication thread.

My inbox got me thinking……….

How special would you feel if you were sent the following e-card from someone that you spent money with this year?


I love the “We hope this communication is welcomed…”  Makes me feel like you really remember who I am.  And are you really giving me the option to unsubscribe from next year’s seasonal greetings?

You tell me.  Maybe I am being picky.

Now how about this one…  Are you feeling the love?

I now have to click on a link to go a site to see all the Christmas warmth you can’t wait to share with me… As if that isn’t enough to do, there is the obligatory signature language informing me that I could be sued for mishandling the email you are sending me.  WOW…. way too much baggage for me to do anything with.  I just have to archive it…

These both ended up in my inbox (along with a tiresome few others…) and I just didn’t have the energy to keep clicking through to link after link so I could get in the Christmas spirit.  It kind of made it all feel like a “chore”…

Like maybe our relationship wasn’t so important after all…

Know what I mean?

It gets you thinking.  What’s the logic behind this?

Who emerged from their marketing “bat-cave” with the fantabulous idea that impersonal seasonalized hyperlink creation was something that made customers feel like “you care”?

Was there a memo in the late ’90s that I missed?

Two words: CALL ME…

I know I’m a little cranky when it comes to this stuff, but doesn’t it seem a little dis-ingenuous?  Even if you give the sender the “benefit of the doubt”, you can’t overlook the general lack of creativity.  The fact remains that in the haste to have another “client touch”, the marketer forgot to put himself in the recipient position.

Here’s reality: No one really reads this stuff.

(not even your grandma who has unlimited Facebooktime)

Maybe the first one you get (right after Thanksgiving), but right around the second week in December you are left with no other choice but massive select-and-archive.  You even feel a little bad about it, but you justify if by telling yourself that if you have time, you’ll dig them out later at home to look through.

And you never do…  It’s just not a high priority.

Without a relationship, you just avoid all the rest of  the noise coming at you.

And certainly this mirrors a hunch I have had for some time now as I talk with C-level executives and ask about their behavior to inbound messaging.  I decided to test my theory.  About a week ago, I put a poll up on LinkedIn asking the following question:

“If relationships really do matter in sales, why don’t we build better ones throughout our selling process?”

Here are the overall results:

  • 40% stated that they didn’t have enough access to the right people to build a great relationship…
  • 10% noted that they tried to build good relationships but didn’t know how to keep it up
  • 20% thought that it wasn’t really a good use of their time…  AND
  • 30% admitted they weren’t really sure how to build great relationships…

When you study this further, you see that ALL of the CEO’s who responded to this question answered the same — that they had not developed this skill of long term relationship building.

Are you surprised?  You might have thought that senior level executives had “schmoozing” all figured out.  Maybe not.  Maybe there’s more to that cocktail parties and fast one-liners.

The numbers get more interesting when you look at the size of the companies responding.  All of the big guys (who would have the biggest sales and marketing budgets) all noted that they didn’t have access to the right people to build great relationships.

Essentially, the guys with the most advantages toward building the best relationships were the least likely to know how to get the right people.  Interesting indeed.

When you look at the age for relationship building, it becomes even more significant.  The young guys and old guys fall into the same category — limited access to the right executives.  While the mid-life high-performers know the right people, but aren’t really sure what to do to keep their attention.

Kind of what you would expect from life, right?  You work hard to get somewhere; and then once you’re there you push so far and fast ahead that you lose valuable ties to people who could be a valuable resource to you.

Young or old, big or small — we all need to work a little harder to keep our relationships strong.  They are our lifeblood, our lifeline to accomplishing our life’s mission.

So think about how you treat your relationships.

Are you asking friends to triple-click through your e-card nonsense, or are you bold enough to just say “Thank You”…  and mean it…

P.S.  Thank you to all the amazing readers of The DEW View!  Have a Happy Holidays.  I am grateful that I was able be a part of your 2009 selling year.  Take some time to get recharged and then let’s plan on changing the world together in ’10….  Thanks again!!!

How GMC Lost My Million Dollar Business

What happened to the art of caring about the success of your customers?

What happened to caring in general — about your own success, about what wakes you up in the morning, about a higher calling than your 9-to-5?  Is it costing you millions of dollars and you don’t even know about it yet?

envoy“Sir, that’s the fee we added recently to anyone returning their vehicle at the end of their lease.  It’s helps to offset our recent losses.”

That was the response I got from a customer support rep in India answering my frustration over a $800 bill from GMC after returning my vehicle at the end of a 36 month lease.  Do I even need to tell you my response?  I was livid (and so are many of you just reading this).

Not only did I pay several thousands dollars up-front to buy my way into the lease, but Bank of America did a super job of auto-paying the bill each month — from my piggy bank to the coffers of GMC’s “bean counters”.  And now that my lease is done, some one decides to change the rules and charge me because they horribly mismanaged their own affairs.  (That puts me in a bad mood.)

There’s more to this story actually.  It gets better…

About 10 hours ago, I got a call from a Senior Customer Service Rep named Debra in Midland, Texas who “humored” me with a call back to help me with my concerns.  When I asked why I was getting charged $800 for a “Disposition Fee”, I was told”

“That’s a fee all of our customers pay…  It’s only if you decide not to buy the vehicle at the end of the lease.  It’s kind of an incentive thing… “

I kindly asked her where this was mentioned in my original agreement.

“I don’t know if that’s in your agreement, sir.  I don’t know if it’s mentioned there…”

So then I just got personal and I asked her the logic of demanding I pay a fee that was added three years after I signed paperwork.  I just asked why none of this made any sense.  What if this was happening to her?  Would she think this was the right way to be treated?

“Sir, I am sorry; we can not waive that fee, regardless…”

And then I got the real answer.  The fee right now was more important than I was.

……………………..She didn’t want it to make sense.

…………………………………………………She didn’t need it to make sense.

At the end of our discussion — at the end of getting no answers, no clarity, no reasons for these fees — Debra summed it up by simply noting that regardless of the fairness of the situation or her inability to explain the logic of the bill, she simply did not CARE….

That’s what it came down to.  She represented a company that did not care about me.

Two things I know:

  1. I will not ever pay this $800 fee until someone can clearly show me my rightful obligation (which at this point seems a long way off)…..   AND
  2. I will never (in my lifetime) ever buy another GMC…. (ever, ever….)

What does that mean?

It means that GMC loses horribly over a lack of caring.

Think about this with me.

If I buy a new vehicle every 5 years for the next 40 years (until I am 70) and pay roughly $45,000 per vehicle  (like I did with this Envoy), GMC lost out on $360,000.  And with a 2-car family, that’s about $750,000.  Now what if I buy the boys a car or two (like a generally insane parent)?  Are we close to a million dollars?

Are we beyond a million dollars?  Probably.

So what happened?

GMC forgot that CARING is the ultimate CAPITAL…..

You can spend millions on marketing and billions on branding, but if you don’t care, you can’t replace your customers fast enough to stay in business.  In face, it’s worse than bad.  You just don’t upset your community; you create an army of vigilantes who go out-of-their-way to make sure you fail.  They actually invest in your demise….

Now before you get too indignant over GMC, think about your customers and the amount of money you lose because you don’t take the time to care.  Think about how much money you could lose by not caring to invest in your relationship with them.

And the amazing thing about caring is that when you really do care — you really empathize — you can screw up pretty bad and your customer will forgive you.

Because caring is really what matters most in a relationship.

———————–

“Caring is the different between the struggle for survival or the the passionate pursuit of excellence.  With one, you succeed at living and with the other you live to succeed… (DEWism)”