The day began bright, beautiful and pregnant with expectations. It was Shelia’s first working day in the New Year and she exerted much strength, energy and passion with which she excitedly hug and screamed “happy new year” to each of the familiar faces she had worked with all through the previous year. As she exchanged pleasantries with her teammates, they also revive the memories of the short but beautiful Christmas holidays that just ended. Activities in Manitex Shipping Company complex began slowly till mid-day where it hyped, a few familiar customers stopped by Sheila’s unit to extend belated holiday wishes to the staff. In spite of the holidays, ships were still docking from all over the world and activities was on the increase.
Working at Manitex Shipping Company has been a very fascinating job for Sheila who loved ships, sailing and the intricacies of importation. In three years she had worked in four departments and under different supervisors and she’s had a good share of the excitement and challenges. The recent reassignment brought her to Client Relations Department (CRD), a unit she has always desired to work. The Client Relations Department was responsible for managing all existing, new and prospective customers. The work load in CRD was enormous and challenging and Sheila particularly loved prospecting and winning new clients. The new department would have been her best but for Shola her supervisor who was in the habit of berating people when displeased.
During the holidays, Sheila met Mr. Julius at a party organized by a mutual friend; they sip drinks together at the bar after which he asked for a dance. The dance gave them a good opportunity to know themselves and exchange contacts. Mr. Julius is a multi-millionaire who owns a fleet of ship, a tank farm and a cargo clearing company. Sheila went after the opportunity and decided to introduce their services to Mr. Julius. She also came to know that he was a shrewd businessman and one which sentiments could not sway a decision. Signing up Mr. Julius as a client had been quite easy but getting his business proved a difficult task.
Mr. Julius was known for going after concessionary charges and getting his business would help Sheila and her team surpass the quarterly target set by the company’s management. In the light of these, Sheila worked hard on the business proposal and hope that Mr. Julius accepted the terms which will lead to a profitable business relationship. Mr. Julius was impressed with the proposal and wanted to discuss further. So he requested to meet with Sheila and her team. The meeting commenced on a good note and discussions ensued. The discussions went on well until the client asked for a ridiculous concession on berthing and clearing fees. His request was one percent below the industry standard. This was based on the number of his ships that were going to dock in the company’s port and the number of cargoes cleared. With this, they came to a loggerhead and another meeting was scheduled.
Sheila knew that her company would not go below industry standards especially for a new client irrespective of his potentials. She had sleepless nights thinking of ways to get Mr. Julius to do business with her company and also to convey the company’s stance and industry regulations to him.
Two weeks after the last meeting, Mr. Julius personal assistant conveyed the company’s inability to do business with her company Sheila. Cold sweat broke out on Sheila’s face as she dropped her phone after the call. She rushed to the toilet to relieve herself as her bowels could not hold. The news of the rejection greatly shook her. She later discovered that another shipping company had offered the client the concessionary rate he requested for. “Competition”! They always do anything, even going beyond industry standards to get business. Different emotions surged through Sheila’s body – disappointment was the least. The effort, time and expenses incurred at writing that proposal and chasing after Mr. Julius were now a waste. “I honestly think that Mr Julius was offered something else ” Sheila complained to Ige, her team mate. This market place is truly competitive!
Sheila now wished she never mentioned this client to Shola – her supervisor. Her first excitement at having an audience with Mr. Julius made her share her success with Shola. Sheila could guess what this rejection would ignite in him, even when it was no fault of hers. She dreaded his summon.
“Shola wants to see you immediately”. Yetunde, Shola’s secretary spoke into the intercom, as soon as she picked.
…… To be continued