The best thing about being a travelling salesman

Another milestone in building Greywing and changing Crew Changes.

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Nick Clarke
CEO and Co-founder of Greywing. @NickGreywing

What a horrible word… “travelling salesman” a phrase that conjures up an image of someone trying to sell you automobile polish on your doorstep or something equally questionable, unrelated to your current needs and available somewhere else at half the price with more convenience.

Possibly the worst title one could start an article on Linkedin with 😉

greywing-crew-changes-ceo

And I get it. I am a horrible person to sell to. If an email is not immediately relevant to my needs I Command K - Block (thanks Superhuman). I do it without even thinking. Maybe 2.5-5% of incoming emails get any consideration and maybe a third of those get a response.

So when I am emailing people and some one does not get back to me, I get it. It is likely a waste of their time and mine and they are doing me a favour.

But despite that, do you know what, there is one thing I experience doing sales that is hard to find elsewhere in the business. It is hard to describe.

I would call it meeting a fellow believer.

And that is going to mean different things to different people across the vast spectrum of humans out there.

What it means to me, is I meet some who cares, they question the status quo, and they know that the way things are now are a hangover from history. Like the feeling you get when someone gives you a business card and its got a fax number on it. 😬It happened the other day, I rang a guy up to pitch Greywing and I had thought twice about it. Whilst this guy ( a Head of Crewing for a 70 vessel company in the tanker market) had signed up to a demo version of Greywing 2 years ago he had never responded to any of my emails… for two years.

Emails like…

“Oh have you heard about how we automate crew changes…” or

“…did you know we have this brand new Port Agent integrated…”

perhaps “… and you can compare prices for crew changes between different ports in just a few seconds…”

…I would opine, and not a whisper back.

This guy appeared to me as interested in Greywing as much as my imaginary cat Aristotle was a fan of vegan cat food.

When he picked up I stumbled through my… ‘Hello, its Nick from Greywing we digitise crew…”

He immediately cut me off. Dead.

And then he continued;

“Yes Nick! we have been emailing for a while haven’t we! I know Greywing well, I signed up really early on and it would be great to hear more about it.”

A few days later I was sat in his office reminiscing about the days of anti-piracy, which had played a part in both of our careers, and listening to this Head of Crewing tell me why he thought Greywing was such a good idea. He had grasped the vision and he expanded on it.

It was the best day of my trip. When you hear someone, who is a subject matter expert in their field, praise & engage with an idea that your team have nurtured for months it is the most rewarding feeling.

All those days when you ask yourself whether you are chewing glass based on your own whims and fancies and are you completely barking the wrong tree are vindicated when you meet someone who is a true believer in your vision and your product and just wants to see it implemented.

Because it is good for them, their crew and the industry.

And then, just like that; it stops.

It is time to get back to work to deliver the vision, prepare for the deployment and to email the next human who might not get back to you for two years.

Yet they will meet you on that lonely highway of innovation and entrepreneurship to start a common journey out of the maritime dark ages.

A journey into a world without business cards with fax numbers.

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