You can get everything right - arranging for your customers to be picked up promptly at the airport, putting them up at the hotel where they'd prefer to stay, transporting them to your office on time comfortably, welcoming them with a smile, making them feel at home by accomodating every single quirk of theirs (22 degrees A/C and warm Diet Coke), putting your best engineers to explain your approach towards the proposal, showcasing an experienced team lead who can give them confidence that their work will get done and finally even demonstrate that you have been-there-done-it-all-before - but still not win a deal in the Engineering Space. Ask me for I would know better than anyone. The only slide which seems to matters is PROJECT COST. Its all about money, honey. And invariably, the feedback I am beginning to hear is that we are "too costly", "premium players", "inflexible in price" and tonnes of such crap....To quote Kaushik, customers expect the power of a Ferrari and the styling of a Merc at the cost of a Maruti.
Yesterday was no different.
In the past such visits used to leave me frustrated. Nowadays I am much wiser (Thanks to a brilliant boss). In fact, we go ahead and suggest the names of our competition who work at a price 30% below us. Needless to say customers start business with them, screw up a small project big-time, learn from their mistakes and come running to us in 6 months.. And yes, that time we add another 10% premium just for all the trouble they created last time around ;-)
... and this story leads to my New Year resolution 1
1. Play any game for the long run - Don't chase smaller, easier-to-get victories, go for the REAL THING. And learn to wait till the customer's chickens come home to roost.
Other resolutions I think I shall make are...
2. Do not use elevators or escalators till you weigh down to 75 kg
3. Learn to play a really new sport this year, say golf. (Note: sport and game not to be used interchangeably - 'games' like baccarat don't qualify)
4. Cease making new friends instead focus on cementing ties with existing ones.
5. (Try to) Forgive but definitely NOT forget those who hurt you.
Well.. If I had filled up my GnOs this way, my boss would have screamed foul and say it was hardly "stretch"... So here I go with two really difficult resolutions that I genuinely wanted to implement this year but have not been able to...
6. Call up close friends more often just to say Hi and How are you doing?
7. To quote a wellwisher, Stay away from birds: the non-feathered kind.
Seven.. I like that number. So let me stop here. A week and it will be implementation time.
* sigh *
8. Never again participate in a quiz at this workplace of mine esp ones where they still ask stuff like "Who is Shah Jahan's son?", "When is Hiroshima Day?" and "What is the chemical symbol for lead?" - Hopefully the crossword later in the afternoon is better !!