From the author:
The pure horror
For many, annual trade talks are pure horror. Google finds about 63.900 terms at "Annual Talk Trade" and throws countless seminars for key account managers and distributors.
What must a person feel who regularly goes to war in the autumn of every year and is exposed to the purest terror. Not somewhere in one of the crisis areas, but in the middle of Germany. Which must decide between exit now immediately (prices keep stable) or exit later (prices "adjust" and again margin lose)?
Sometimes everything happens very fast. Like last December. Six hours, the key account manager arrived for the annual meeting. Normally, the appointment lasts one to one and a half hours. But this time he sat in 22 minutes back in the car in the direction of home. Without orders. The had from 1. January another.
Out and about?
"Everything already discussed and arranged," the shopper had told him. And "I'm sorry" and smiled so funny. Was it because, seven years ago, he was commissioned by Chef of the buyer against his will. Because then he had to do all the work and it turned out to be the right decision in the last seven years.
With revenue and profit increases of more than 30 percent. It was the case that the previous supplier was now fighting back because he had learned to be "fed" with first-hand information from the buyer in recent years. How should this gap be closed so quickly?
You can only win!
Questions about questions that torched the key account manager in the long hours on the highway during the return journey. It was mid-December, in less than three weeks, the unwanted stock should be removed from the customer's stores and the shelves should be expanded.
On the way back, he realized that he had already lost the orders. From now on he can only win. Before his mind's eye, the image of the hero of a film seen before ancient times and long forgotten. The stand with the back to the wall and there was only one free direction. To the front, with full risk.
How does the other tick?
So the key account manager has still called from the road his already retired predecessor and former boss, Mr. Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt knew the senior manager and founder of the company of the customer, Mr. Huber, from before.
Schmidt was able to describe our key account manager quite well, as Mr. Huber ticks. What he likes, what values he has, what he is proud of and what is important to him.
Escape to the front!
The next day our key accont manager wrote a letter. Directly addressed to Mr. Huber, the Seniorchef and a greeting from Mr. Schmidt. The letter then contained all the facts since the beginning of the partnership. The whole seven years finely listed. How it all began, how it developed, what had been done and what the company of Mr. Huber got from it.
And the most important thing, he wrote it without anger and annoyance - and above all without being subdued. Because, the missions he had already lost. He has instead addressed the values of Mr. Huber and the motives that have driven him over and over again in the many years of his entrepreneurship. Material about this our key account manager found abundant on the Internet and in old magazines and business reports.
The nail test
Before sending the letter, he gave it to his former colleague Schmidt. He was to read it, with the eyes of old Huber, and say what would happen if he held the letter in his hands. This is the nail test. The simulation of communication. This, of course, goes with a negotiation, with sales talks, with everything.
The test was positive. Only a few small corrections had to come in. Most were stylistic in nature. A few words differently, "Denglish" terms replaced by German and then it was good. Schmidt gave his OK and said: "Yes, that fits." In English then that means: "The match."
Never give up while the ball is still in the game
The letter was given, personally. And then followed a tense wait. Exactly two days. Then the answer was there. The purchaser's decision was withdrawn. From Seniorchef personally.
The old state was restored. Nearly. Because at the opportunity was just the same conditions still talked. But the orders are saved, committed for the next three years.
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