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Yes, Its Personal…

Looking back on the previous blog, I’m reminded of an incident that took place back in the day when I was supervising sales people in the parking and security equipment market.

I had a new salesperson who was a go getter. She had no fear and would walk into any building and approach anyone. In this case, she found a potential customer with four buildings, and a security guard in the lobby of each one after hours and on weekends. She proposed a card system that would allow three of the buildings to run without a guard, and the guard in the fourth would monitor all four buildings. The savings to the ownership would be in the hundreds of thousands a year. It was a no brainer.

She presented the system and waited, called, cajoled, and pleaded for almost a year. Never a “no” but never a “yes.” Finally I had had it and the two of us approached the asset manager together. I told her to wait outside and I went in and met the fellow alone.

“Just why aren’t you buying this, its perfect for you and your company. Its a no brainer.” He responded:

“Well, my compensation program is based on how much I save based on capital purchases. When we replace an air conditioner and I can show that the deal I cut saved a certain percentage over other deals for the same equipment, I get a bonus based on that savings. This deal will get me nothing.”

It was personal. Though the compensation program was idiotic, it was what it was. We restructured the proposal into a lease, then showed how much was saved by paying cash rather than leasing. We had the deal in a week.

In the end, many successes are based on how the participants are affected personally, the company be dammed. Let’s face it, in the hierarchy of things, home and family comes first, or at least it should.

JVH

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