You Make the Call
Written on March 31, 2010 by Mark
Situation : You’ve been contacted three times by the Director of Warehouse Operations for a local manufacturing company. The first time he revealed that the company would be upgrading some of its materials handling equipment and requested a full-line catalog. In response to you request for an appointment, he explained that the company was only in the preliminary stages of planning and an appointment would be premature. However, he committed to getting in touch with you when it was appropriate. So, you sent the catalog.
A few weeks later, the Ops Director again called, this time requesting spec sheets for specific roller conveyors and cantilevered storage shelves. He was quick to point out that the company was a bit further along in planning, but not ready for a meeting…and restated his commitment to get back to you when appropriate.
The third request came via e-mail – this time for pricing information. Your phone call got no further than the Ops Director’s secretary who only repeated the request for the pricing information.
What should you do?
Provide the pricing information and wait for the Ops Director’s call?
Inform the Ops Director that pricing information is only provided during a face-to-face meeting and press for an appointment?
Call the company’s CFO and request an opportunity to discuss how your company might help with the warehouse upgrade project?
Action : If you wait for the Ops Director’s call, you may be waiting a long time. Pressing for an appointment as a condition of supplying pricing information will likely be met with more put-offs and excuses.
Calling the CFO is the most appropriate course of action. The CFO may not play a part in the final selection of equipment or the company from whom it is purchased, but he or she can most likely provide you with information about the scope and timing of the project and point you in the direction of someone higher in the chain of command than the Ops Director with whom to discuss the opportunity.