Jul 15 2016

First Impressions May Be The Wrong Ones

Perry Tetteh-Quarshie

Yesterday afternoon, Linda Carroll, our accountant, was out of the office and I found myself answering phones like in the old days. It is unbelievable how many cold calls we get – almost 10 an hour!  About a third of them are from robotic dialing machines with automated voice prompts (who answers these?).  The rest of the calls are from poorly trained people with little interest in helping us.  Every time I answered the phone, it was a reminder about how our customers and prospect must feel.  They are probably getting 80 calls a day (or deleting 80 voicemails a day).  This is on top of the 100+ email solicitations they must get every day.  How can we help them?

The easiest way to help is to stop calling them. They don’t get bothered, but they also don’t get helped.  So our first job is to hear if they need help.  Sometimes a simple question gets the answer, but sometimes we just hear the complaints.  If we do our job right, we just need to listen for their mood.  If they are impatient, they need parts fast.  If they are frustrated, they need a lower price.  If they are angry, they want better quality.  New England sheet metal customers are great because they typically tell you what is on their mind, but most times they are very subtle (at least compared to our New York customers).  Once we know what kind of help they need, we try our best to offer at least one solution, sometimes many more.

This week we hired Perry Tetteh-Quarshie. You can tell from his last name that his family isn’t an original New England family.  Once you talk to him, you will know immediately that he hasn’t spent years in the sheet metal fabrication industry.  Your first impression might be to avoid talking with an immigrant with little sheet metal experience.  We think that will do you a big disservice.  After talking with over a dozen candidates, we chose Perry because he cares about helping customers.  We believe the best person to represent ETM Manufacturing to our customers and future sheet metal customers, is someone who really wants to help you.

We believe Perry’s lack of sheet metal experience is also an advantage. Sometimes an experienced sales person fills in their own information when they talk with customers rather than asks questions to understand what they really want.  Some sheet metal salespeople are better talkers then listeners and this does customers a disservice.  Our training with Perry so far tells us he is a very good listener and a very quick learner.  With the right person, like Perry, we can train him properly to listen, ask questions and offer help when asked.  No pressure selling, no hard closing, no pushy sales, no bait and switch, no saying yes, but meaning no – just listening and offering to help.

In the coming weeks and months, chances are you will hear from Perry. His accent might throw you or his patient manner might agitate you.  All we ask you to consider is that your first impressions may be the wrong ones.  In the end, you might be pleasantly surprised that you get the help you want, when you want or better yet, you finally have the competitive advantage you have been looking for.

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