Over the years I have made a lot of money for some of the world’s most prestigious companies, and also for some of the smallest ones. I have had good bosses and bad bosses, and I have worked under both great, and despicable leadership. I have made a lot of friends, and likewise a lot of enemies. If you know me, then you know I am proud of both because I really don’t give a crap who I piss off. I never have, and I never will.
What I DO care about however, is that anyone who ever asked me for help with a water problem is better off for having done so. When it comes to my career, I have urinated on company policy, supervisor directives, market strategies and even direct orders if it meant doing something that was not in my customer’s best interest.
Funny, but most of the miserable bastards I have gone to war with probably, to this very day believe themselves to be righteous, but of course no longer work in water. Herein you see describes the difference between a Water Doctor and someone who sells water products for a living.
“But, but, but Tom, if you don’t push our products, how will we keep the lights on?”
Simple. It is called Faith. I capitalized the word Faith on purpose. A Water Doctor has Faith and knows that if he solves the customers’ problem, the customer will come back to him, and over the course of his career, the sales will take care of themselves. I also capitalized Faith because in my career I have come to learn that most in my fraternity also have Faith in God, and his Son Jesus Christ. There is a message in Matthew 6:26-34 that really explains how a Water Doctor thinks. We do the right thing, don’t get all frantic about the sale, and just work hard and believe that the customer will come back to us over time.
I am here to tell you, the individual who frenetically lives by sales quotas, pushing the customer, and myopically focusing on CRMs and sales reports, none of which by the way has ever lead to a more successful company, or a happy customer, will always flounder in the world of water.
Years back, my employer, a major player, developed a technology to greatly reduce the monthly cost a customer was paying for what is called service tank deionization. Sounds great, right? Yeah, well get this, management prohibited us from selling to our own customers because they didn’t want to reduce their cash cow monthly revenue. We could only sell this product to our competitors’ clients. Talk about unscrupulous management?
To those corporate types who think my Faith speak is off the deep end, I will tell you this. As important as water technology is, we continue to see investors, and large corporations invest in it, only to sell and run for the hills with their tails between their legs a few short years later. Certainly the journey of US Filter – Vivendi – Siemens – Evoqua offers interesting color to this discussion. Who is going to bow out next? Bets anyone?
Water Doctors live for the customer. Water Products Salesmen are here today, gone tomorrow. That’s the difference.