Procurement and Dating. Find ten differences.


Ordinary Thursday morning. 9.15 am. Ping! E-mail flies in: “sorry, can’t make it for our annual meeting today at 10am. Looks like I have a man flue”. Hm. Life happens, right? And it turns out, life can “happen” more than once a day…  Another meeting the same day, almost in a row… Look, I do understand, that once you, sales heroes, are on sales road-trip, you tend to take your customers for dinners and all. But that was exactly the moment when it daunted on me, that it really is like a very poor speed-dating event with “no-shows” and strongly hung-over dates. Can you imagine an administrator asking “What would you like to have? Coffee? Tea? …Whiskey?”

Decided to make some research and check if my thoughts have any truth in them. Here is the list of rules for dating that are pretty much the same on all articles writing about it:

  1. “Have a plan”. Looks self-explanatory, right? Is it different from any business meeting?
  2. “Don’t act like you don’t care”. Unless you really do. I am pretty sure procurement specialist on the other side (or sales rep, if you like) of the table will understand your behaviour.
  3. “Playing with your phone”. The. Phone. Away. PLEASE.
  4. “Keep an open mind”. Again – it is for dating. But, honestly, do you not recognise yourself in that? How many times have you realised that your assumptions were wrong?
  5. An advice from / for ladies: “Take mental notes”. If possible, remember EVERYTHING that he says. It is great material in case you need to catch him in a lie, prepare for future arguments or (necessarily) make quick judgments so you can get the hell out of dodge. I do this! You don’t?
  6. “Dating one man at a time, will only allow you to find one loser at time”. No comments, no judgement! But is that not almost the main rule in procurement?
  7. “Read Between the Lines when Dating Online”. We all probably have suppliers that we know only electronically. One of the CEOs I used to report into, had a special new sales methodology developed for our sales people. GYBOTC. Get Your B*tt Off The Chair.
  8. “Listen to Your Gut”. Sometimes a date might just feel “off” despite everything appearing to be perfect or a person may simply give you a strange vibe even though they seem outwardly “perfect.” A very important one for me. In fact, my next text will be about mathematical (as much as it can be) approach evaluation. Keep on a look-out!
  9. Join clubs, societies, sports events, drama groups”anything that might help you meet like-minded potential partners”. Raise your hand, if you are NOT reading this on LinkedIn?
  10. “Don’t Try To Get Away With Double Standards”. Yup. This one is for every one of us. Did not return a call? Why would you expect the other side to call you? Did not reply an e-mail? Well then… prepare for a long and painful waiting…

Not so much of a difference, right? And here is the surprise – business (sales or purchasing) is done by people! Simple?

Do you have your rules? Please comment and share funny stories from supplier / customer meetings!

Procurement and Dating. Find ten differences.

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