By Mihir Mody
Founder and CEO, Adwallz
Meeting new clients is part of our routine and often, we are mistaken as just another wall painting agency. Do you wonder what is wall–painting? Have you assumed that we paint walls? Well, the answer is a Yes and a No. I have always known that communication is vital and using terminologies to define our services makes a whole lot of difference. But after an embarrassing and funny incident, I realize that there is a lot more to learn before we coin a term.
In our early days (year 2005), we got an enquiry from a reputed client with regard to our services. Apparently, the client did understand our services. One of my sales managers attended to that client. “The order clarifications” were made on this quick call…
Manager: Sir, how many square feet of work are we looking at?
Client: I am not quite sure. Probably will let you know later. What are your rates?
Manager: Sir, the rates vary based on your requirement. The more the square feet required to be painted; it will cost you less.
Client: Oh okay! We need to find out the total square feet of walls to be painted.
Manager: Have you also decided on the locations to be painted sir?
Client: Yes, I will show you the walls when you come to my office.
Manager: Sure sir, may I know if the design is ready?
Client: Design? No its just simple painting you see. What design are you talking about?
Manager: Fine sir, if the design is simple it will help the painters to get the work done faster.
Client: I agree. No problem. Be at my office at 3pm tomorrow we can discuss this in detail. Can you?
Manager: It will be my pleasure sir… The next day, my sales manager and I were there at a quarter to 3 at our client’s office. I have great respect for people who value everyone’s time and this client was exceptionally time-diligent. We got ourselves introduced to each other and the meeting began.
Client: Look, there is not much time I have. My boys will show you the walls straightaway and I hope you will give me the quote by today.
[I thought to myself; how can one paint within the office? I did not hesitate to ask]
Me: You want to paint the walls within the office?
Client: Yes both the interior and exterior. Umm.. Are we missing something here?
Me: Are you looking for someone to whitewash or paint your office walls?
Client: Isn’t that what you guys do?
[We all had to look at each other’s face; wondering what went wrong and the client burst out laughing. I was giving the manager my dirtiest stare thinking that he was at fault]
Manager: I am so sorry, this is our catalogue and we only paint advertisements on the compound walls and shutters and we specialize in rural and semi-urban areas. I thought you understood our service. Sorry to have wasted your time sir.
Client: Ohhh! I think… I got it all wrong.. My apologies.. Well look, we do such wall paintings in the month of March and I will for sure consider Adwallz for it…
I later realized what happened was not anyone’s fault. I rather focused on training my people to communicate effectively. Now thinking of such incidents reminds me to smile and move on. Oh! if you may wonder, we did rename our service as ‘Advertisement Wall-Painting’ and that client is still our client!