Gandhi the Sales Guru

Battling against 70 mile-an-hour gusts in London the other day was a bit like walking at 45° when Cape Town’s Doctor visits, in that it wasn’t at all cold.  But I thought I’d treat my self to a proper coffee at a place called Madiera Cafe near Waterloo East station.  The Undercover Economist would love to know about this place, given his constant reference to the Waterloo coffee trade, as the coffee is great, yet stunningly inexpensive.

I noticed something new on the wall there, which was a quote from Gandhi.

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

What a belter to remind people of when they lose site of what will keep them in bread and water over some typically ‘sales prevention’ behaviour.  I naturally wondered if this could indeed be by the man himself, so googled more decent background from about:quotations, and happily found it is indeed so.

I’ve used a particular Gandhi quote myself since coming across it in a purpose-built training centre at an email security business, where on every wall they had a huge lettered quote from someone inspirational.  Their Gandhi contribution was the “honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress” one, which I always use to encourage my guys to challenge me.  Interestingly, I was at a place the other day where the in-house staff development-cum-recruiter guy (called Simon) spent 25 minutes trying to persuade his Head of Sales to promote someone.  It featured the contrary-argument style which would make Radio 5Live’s Nicky Campbell gush with pride.  Simon simply never took no for answer, challenging his boss by giving the other side of the coin view at least a dozen times.  I was very impressed.  And at the end, he accepted he wouldn’t get his way, but gained respect from the big man and went away wondering how to re-convince at a later stage.

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