Throughout my career, I have been on hundreds of sales calls. One in particular stands out most to me. I received a competitive bid for a maintenance and inspection program. My colleagues, who had knocked on this customer’s door in the past, had warned me that being awarded the contract was unlikely due to the company’s tendency to choose vendors based on price rather than value.
I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to tour the facility, and when I did, I looked at the existing overhead cranes. I noticed several safety issues and OSHA violations. There were no ANSI tags on any of the pushbutton stations, which is always my first indication of how well the existing service provider is servicing their cranes. I also noticed exposed wiring, worn collector shoes, a dry wire rope and no ground on the crane’s power source.
I asked the customer if the existing service provider had ever discussed any of these issues with them. She was surprised and told me that they had given all their cranes an excellent review for several years, never bringing to her attention these issues. She then mentioned that a major, crane-related safety incident had recently occurred at their plant, and they had been trying to determine how to appropriately address and move forward.
I proceeded to review with the customer all of the violations and safety hazards. I then provided her a copy of the OSHA and ANSI codes so she could review. Before I had the chance to present our MAINMAN inspection program to her, she asked how soon we could get to their site to start our first inspection.
During our conversation, the customer also informed me that she was particularly impressed by what I wore into the facility. Apparently, it was the first time one of their service providers came into their facility with steel toes, hard hat, safety glasses and ear protection. Previously, they had to remind service providers to use PPE and let them borrow from their visitor supply.
I was amazed. I explained to her our safety culture at Konecranes. We not only put our employees through extensive, continued education on every product and service; we insert safety into all of our training and everything we do. When it comes to every job, no matter how urgent or important, we always put the safety of our employees and those of our customers first.
In conclusion, it is essential for sales persons and service providers to fully understand customer needs and be forthright and proactive in providing the complete, best solution for them, always inclusive of safety.