"She threw it all away on nothin'" - Tom Petty, Woman in Love
It's true in almost everything in business as well as life.
How many times do you put everything into a client, only to see them go to a competitor? Or someone gets fired and you lose the opportunity?
And what do they always choose? Nothin' in our eyes.
But something in theirs.
Are they right? Are we wrong? Does it really matter?
Your family depends on you and your job which depends on you to bill clients or find new business with them. You, not IBM, are on the hot seat. So what are you going to go do about it?
Is the economy better? Yes, no? Does it matter?
Do we need LCTY, LUG and other events to find new customers? Raise awareness? Help with publicity?
Yes we do.
But are we always fishing in the same barrel? When was the last time you called up a Microsoft shop and offered Lotus Connections? Do you normally let all your friends know what you sell or manage or work on? Does your Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook profiles mention it at all? Most of you reading this do, but how do you get your clients to do this as well?
While at our LCTY 2 days ago I got an email, via Linkedin, from a friend who lives in Israel asking me about Lotus Sametime. Haven't seen him for a few years and we catch up rarely, but he had to find me via Linkedin because he was searching for Sametime in his network.
Sometimes it takes so little to get so much in return, but do you have the long haul interest or only short term in mind?
Do you blog? There is nothing more thankless than blogging...for the 1st year or so for most people. It takes a while to get a following but then you have a readership and the rest is up to you.
We put a lot of effort into our LCTY event, the sessions and the golf. IBMers got to scratch off another tick box on their targets and goals for 2010 and we are happy to help them get to their goals. We understand what drives our IBM team because for us to be successful, we need to help them be. And we respect their opinions and help, do you? It may seem like you give IBM everything, but how many of us want something for nothing?
Why were there not 100's of LCTY events across the US? By the way, never have them within 200 miles of each other, one piece of advice Florida learned over the last year.
In return for helping the IBMers meet their goals, we want some help to meet our goals because true collaboration is open sharing. Will it really hurt ISSL or IGS if someone spends a few hours to help a key customer to a BP, once or twice?
More than one IBMer let me know they were really happy to not only come, and see some customers, but even be invited! Don't get me wrong, we did not invite every IBMer we know, but some key topic area people as well as in state people is the best way to encourage your business with IBM and clients. There are 300-400,000 IBMers in the world, find them and get to know them best you can in your neck of the woods.
We encouraged other BPs to work with us on the event although few did, some never returned emails or calls. Which left me wondering if they truly understand what the Lotus brand really is about. Yes, it was "our" event, but the greater good is what is important, like Sal G. told me. together we are strong.
We already have meetings set up for next week from the event so it was a success at that level. Sometimes you do an event and you put your all into it and nothing comes from it. Short term. Long term, if you are honest and open with your sharing/collaboration, as I found the other day, clients will love you more in the long term.
I go back 15 years with some of the customers that attended, the people who came from those organizations were impressed with my background info on everything they have been dealing with and wonder why we haven't been out there recently. I wonder too sometimes, but the truth is business runs in cycles, as does management.
Being a Business Partner is not for everyone. It is ups and downs, and rarely at times expected, and you want to give in some times, maybe you blame your vendors for their marketing/pricing/attitude issues or maybe you don't.
Keep giving it your all, else "Don't try to talk, don't say nothin".