Diana Monterrubio holds the position of Global Procurement Director at Teleperformance, her focus is Hardware and Software procurement. With over ten years of experience, she has been published by Procurement magazine and has spoken as keynote speaker for Procurement and Supply Chain Live in London. She has also appeared in vendor owned channels to discuss women in the tech industry and enjoys bringing sensible tech procurement tips to people of all income levels. She currently lives in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Appearances can be deceiving. A few months ago, I met up with a friend who requested my advice on how he should pitch a product to his clients, I thought his approach was very interesting, remember, he was not requesting a sales person to give him advise on how to sale, he requested the advice of some one in Procurement. We went out for dinner.
When we arrived our table was not ready, so we decided to have a drink at the bar and star talking about his product and how I would prefer to be sold that product, when the waitress came over to take our order, I asked for my go to drink: -“Scotch, neat, please-“ I said as my friend started to laugh, we looked at each other for a second until he asked -You are not joking?-“ He asked, embarrassed that he might seem rude for laughing at my order. I was confused but also, I was amused: “Why did you think I was joking?”- He went on to explain that he had never seen a woman order a drink like that, he apologized many times, I laughed.
As the night went on, we started to talk more about how people can always surprise us with a secret skill, story or in this case: scotch. Our conclusion was very interesting: When we meet someone, we get a first impression and feel like we can define them with labels or certain stereotypes. Now, this is not necessarily bad, it does happen to all of us at some point, we use labels to define some one because it makes us feel in control. The reality is that we should not be embarrassed of the labels we create in our minds: Yes, society does judge when someone challenges labels, but if we are not aware of them, how will we get pass them? All systems are adaptive, even our social system, therefore they can adjust to how our mind evolves out of stereotypes, but first we must be aware of what assuming represents: As we get comfortable with labeling people on certain stereotypes without thinking twice about it, we are actually missing to get to know the person behind those labels, because if we are not aware of the challenges each person faces, we will fail to see them.
Our conclusion was not only adjustable to our interaction at the beginning of the night, in fact, we were able to get the advice he was looking for. My friend wanted to sale, he had a target audience, not based on labels but in actual research, and still the human factor was not there, which led to this thought: if you are looking for sales tactics, you will find very good ones, but to know which ones to use, that can only be found out but chatting with your buyer, understand the buyer´s need, and there where you can find a place to add value, do so. Do not assume that your client does not drink scotch neat, but specially do not mis the opportunity to understand why they drink it, you can be missing a great conversation.