Don't let your Engineers be Assholes!

Today there is a very important message and key to everyone in the sales team.  It surely will increase your word of mouth influence and ensure your company is seen as positive to all of your customers.

I must warn you, today's post goes into the use of some mildly strong language - please don't be offended - I don't want to be the one thing I am trying to post against today!

I stumbled onto an article on Eyes on Sales today and thought it relevant particularly SEs as we can spend a lot of time with the customer.

A happy team. (Photo by ckornowski, 2005)
Make sure you never come across as an asshole. 

That is pretty much it! The examples cited are about air hostesses and their differing reactions to customers not doing as they are told and shutting off their electronic devices, however this really covers anyone in your organisation who has close contact with your customers.

Just as everyone at the customer site has some impact on the decision, everyone on your team will have a chance to not be an asshole every chance they talk to the customer.

A customer domain expert might challenge you, or tell you the way it should be done.  They might be right, they might be wrong.  It doesn't matter really.

Any time you are challenged by your customer you have two options.
One: react strongly and you come across as hard to deal with.
Two: let any slight wash off you like the sea, and then be positive and constructive.  You can always moan about it later away from the customer.

Be interested in what is important to them.  Listen to any criticism you can and take it away.  Be the man who jumps on the grenade and don't let it blow up your deal.

As an engineer, you will get to meet many of the customer's people, many of whom might not normally interact with suppliers.  It is your job to be the better person and help the customer make up their own mind.

What is the net effect?

Each time you react negatively, it creates ripples in the social network of people you are dealing with.  If you annoy one person, several others will hear about it.  You can't go to each of those people.  You mightn't even know them.  They might know that the person you are dealing with isn't nice - your positive reaction in those situations will make a positive impression on them, even if you never meet.