It isn’t just about relationships – process matters too

We finally got an order from Display22 and so, in my role as Senior Applications Engineer, I am ramping up the technical support programme for them. Part of this job requires that I get to know the key technical people in Display22; I find out who they are and invite them to a short seminar, to be followed by a lunch. This works extremely well – my team is able to make many new contacts with their engineers. We all get on so well, in fact, that a bowling evening is organised (paid for by my company). This is a hit, too. Through close contact we become familiar with the inner workings of Display22 and settle into a comfortable routine, with weekly status meetings followed, quite often, by a trip to a pub or restaurant.

Eventually, my boss loses patience. ‘You've produced lots of random information, and some terrific expense bills’, he tells me, ‘but I don’t see any progress in the account!’

The problem? The client relationship has left us comfortable, but stuck. Although we have done a great job of engaging and finding out what the clients’ problems are, we have not moved the conversation on to recommend and negotiate solutions that will increase our business with them.


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