Are We Listening?
It started with a visit to his bank to open a business checking account. He told the new accounts representative that his enterprise had the capital on hand to operate for the next six months, but that he wanted to visit with a small business loan officer about steps involved in establishing a relationship with the bank.
She excused herself and approached a colleague, briefing him on the request. He walked over to his newest customer, shook his hand, and said, Hi, Im Jerry. I hear you need a loan.
My friend graciously explained that, no, working capital was not a concern at the moment, but that he wanted to determine the best way for his business to establish a relationship with the bank. They had a brief meeting, and my friend was on his way.
He followed up with a letter as follows: Thanks for taking the time to meet with me last Friday when I established my business checking account. Id like to arrange the transfer my stock holdings at Merrill Lynch into one of your securities account. It is hoped that this will be perceived as the first step toward establishing a line of credit with your bank. I look forward to working with you. Sincerely, etc., Account No. 284069.
This was followed up with the following voice mail: Hi, this is Tom at the bank. Im calling at the request of Jerry. He forwarded me your letter to request to establish a business checking account and also a loan.
Whats happening here? A cynic might conclude that theres no way a serious business relationship could be established with these people. They dont listen. They dont carefully read written correspondence before responding. But there are other possibilities.
Unfortunately, weve all occasionally seemed as clueless to our clients and colleagues.
We sometimes go on autopilot, giving stock answers to what we perceive as stock questions. (Im a loan officer and this customer wants to talk to me, so he must need a loan.)
Or well go digging in our notes for answers before an associate even completes the question.
Sometimes, the less we say, the more intelligent we appear. We should be listening to the problem, taking detailed notes, not formulating on-the-fly solutions to complex situations. Or later, you may find yourself saying, I wish I hadnt said that.
My friend decided to give the bank the benefit of the doubt, and hes been pleased with their service since the initial communications glitches. Relationships sometimes need a second chance.
Before acceptance, FSA members are required to submit working examples of their solutions, marketing materials, references, a mission statement and other data. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship.
The company has also been accepted as a member of the Houston Ad Federation (www.haf.org). Among its activities are committees dedicated to legislative improvements, education & student conferences, and business-to-business and special-interest seminar as they relate to advertising.
Finally, Project Management Solutions has also joined the Houston Production Managers Association (www.hpma.com). Their objective is to develop the professional, creative & business aspects of advertising print production.
We look forward to contributing to these organizations as well as benefiting from their collective knowledge.
Been thinking about joining your local service organization? Theres much to gain and nothing to lose.
Lets stay in touch.