The Power of Customer Focus for a big win

One time long ago, I was working for a warehouse management company called Optum Software.  It was a startup with about 35 employees.  I was a salesperson.

Their product did directed actives in a warehouse, like directed put aways and picking. using Radio Frequency (RF) devices.

The company was sold and I gave them my resignation.   They said ” We REALLY need that big deal with the company in Tampa.  The Home Shopping Network.”

I replied “I will sell it if you put it in writing.  They did.”

I flew to Roanoke, VA and Reno, NV to tour their warehouses with the warehouses managers.  I learned their issues and challenges.  Documented my findings in a proposal focused on those issues and challenges.  (In a bigger company, I could have worked with Marketing on this.)

Met the company and hammered out a deal for $3.2 million dollars.  Since I learned so much about the business, I was in a position of strength.  They asked for a big discount and I gave them a small one.  (Since it was my final act, I was in a strong position.)  They gave me a big down payment check, which was in my briefcase.

At the Tampa airport, I saw the late George Steinbrenner read a book on the Civil War called Lee’s Lieutenants.  Everyone knew him but no one would talk to him.  Click his name to learn more about this great man who died recently.

I asked him about the book and he replied.  We started talking.  Finally, I asked Mr. Steinbrenner if he would talk to my wife, Kathy, a big Yankee fan.  He called her and said “Do you know who this is, Kathy?”  She said no.  She was floored when she heard who it was.

Later she told everyone she would be shocked to be asked that question.

Sat across from George on the plane in first class.  (They put me that because I used them so much.)

What do you think?  Has anything comparable happened to you?  Love your comments.

Later I learned that I saved the company for years.