Guru Wonder Mastehead 01J -Plain
Cities of the future -288


Let's do business together.

In 1993, in pursuit of a large and significant supply order, we travelled to Detroit, to meet with a five member team at Visteon, at that time, a division of Ford Motor Company.

Discussions concluded favourably. Both parties were in agreement on everything, except the time frame for development and delivery of samples. They demanded that we deliver in 8 weeks and I insisted on 14 weeks. It looked like the deal was going to fall through.

Our export manager Harsh whispered in Punjabi to me, "Sir, we can't afford to lose this order. I beg you, please, to agree to whatever they demand and bag the order. We can always make some excuse and come back later and ask for a time extension."

I knew we could do it in 8 weeks, but past experience taught me that developments projects tend to encounter delays and one should always provide for the unexpected, and in India the variables were simply too many. Under pressure, I decided to shave the safety margin from 6 weeks to 3 weeks, still a risky step.

I always felt that a relationship built on a lie eventually brings pain. Refusing to mislead, maybe that is why I am not so successful at conducting commerce.

I said, "Gentlemen, the best we can do is 11 weeks".
The Visteon team leader, said, "No it's got to be 8 weeks and that is the best I can give you".

Finally with an air of resignation I responded, "I am sorry Sir, if you insist on 8 weeks we might have a problem".

The buyer a 6 ft plus burly giant of a man roared, "Mr. Singh!" as he slammed both his hands on the conference table and shot straight up from his chair, intimidatingly towered over us. It appeared by being too honest and cautious I had blown our chance to win the order.

Then his face broke into a large grin and he offered me his hand for a handshake and said, " Mr. Singh, I have had numerous encounters with people from your country and they always tell me, 'No problem, No problem', but you know, we always encounter problems. You are the first person from India who says he might have a problem. I like it, that you are realistic and honest about commitments. Let's do business together."


ps. _
Credibility is the foundation of a successful relationship. Our well trained and highly motivated team rose to the challenge and we delivered the sample in 7 weeks time. The motto became, 'Always promise less than you can deliver and always deliver more than you promise'. Doing things well repeatedly and consistently is the stuff that mastery is made of._


Written and posted: Oct 2018 ~ by Gurvinder Singh
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