Josh Brown 2013-06-07 07:36:18
Proper decorum I will never understand how people can treat each other with anything but dignity and respect in the work environment. In this industry there are those who have been around 50 years and those who just started working last week. One way or another, they’re in this together. The owner of the biggest manufacturer in the U.S. and the person cleaning the shop in a local plumbing house are tied together. They should get along just as well as any peers do. I have far too often heard people be disrespectful or flippant with someone they view as lesser than them. Common sense says you should be decent with people you communicate with in your industry. I don’t want to lecture people on how they should act, but in this technological world we live in everyone is connected in a matter of seconds. It only takes one trip to LinkedIn to realize that kid cleaning the plumbing shop is the owner’s son and when he takes over in 20 years, he’s going to remember the manufacturer that either treated him well or will be sure to forget the one that ignored him. Despite the continued reliance on the computer and email for communication, this still is a business of people. I’ll forever be surprised when a manufacturer or a manufacturers rep walks into my building and only talks to the purchasing agent, but none of the sales staff. The salespeople are on the front lines dealing with customers every day. If the salespeople understand your product, they’re going to sell it. I’ve noticed the sales reps that take the time to learn their customers and develop relationships with them are the most successful of the group. I realize it’s difficult as a rep or manufacturer to see all your customers and visit with each salesperson, but I think everyone would be surprised how far: “Hi. How are you? Anything we can do for you?” will go with an inside salesperson. I don’t want this to be mistaken for, “Go into a wholesaler’s building and don’t leave until you’ve talked to every person.” Obviously, people are busy and there always is the chance of overstaying your welcome. I will say, learn your customers and treat everyone well starting the second you walk in that door. There’s the old adage of you get further with honey than vinegar, but it’s shocking how few people really take that into consideration. I’m not the prime example of how you treat people because I’ve been guilty of passing people off, forgetting names and being less than polite. Everyone does it, we know we do it and we still have a difficult time controlling it. Electronic etiquette I know email was created to make our lives easier and make communication faster, but can we please stop abbreviating everything? I’m a younger man and I still don’t understand half the abbreviations I see. The only one I still know the meaning of is ASAP. Also, can we please start spelling words the way they were meant to be spelled and use the occasional comma? I know this feels a bit preachy, but it’s far more than that. It’s pleading. I cannot read an email that says “Plz gt bak 2 me” and not want to pull my hair out. It looks bad to type like that. If you have two emails and one says “Please get back to me,” and the other looks like the sentence above, it’s pretty easy to decide who you’re going to get back to first. People say the main problem with email and text is you can’t always tell the tone of the message. An email with proper grammar is much easier to decipher than ONE THAT HAS ALL CAPS. When dealing with a customer or vendor, taking even the minutest steps in creating legible email will do wonders. We can all benefit from asking ourselves if we’re really practicing those lessons about minding our p’s and q’s. Joshua Brown is Director of Sales & Marketing for Metropolitan Pipe & Supply Co. In Cambridge, Mass. Josh is the fifth generation of a family-owned business and has been in the industry for more than a decade. To contact Josh with any questions or comments please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617/492-6400.
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