A customer want’s to work for us. How to deal with the situation?
Background: My employer is a German company of roughly 1200 people that develops very complex and specialized investment goods, supporting the development and test of electronic control units. The main market is Automotive (80%) followed by Aerospace and Research Institutions.
I work for this company for 11 years now, with previous jobs in development and application. Three of these years were spend in Japan to help building up the local subsidiary.
Currently I’m a senior sales engineer in charge of projects for another Asian country. I work closely together with a local distributor who deals with the day-to-day business and visit the country roughly 4 times a year to maintain a relationships to key customers and to discuss complex inquiries face-to-face. Together, we have grown the revenue about five-fold since 2009, when I took over this job.
Now to the issue: After visiting us in Germany for the commissioning (i.e. check-out/test) of a very complex system, a customer has decided that he would like to leave his country and work for us, in support of this market. Yes, just like that. :-/
This is of course a great compliment, and our distributor is full of praise for him. They see him as a valuable because of his contacts and his supposed influence on decision makers.
We (my boss and I) are more skeptical, since he would be most useful for us based in the local market. This issue has so many thorny problems, ranging from his motivation for such a major life change (on a whim?) to his probably not optimal fit to the local team.
Still, we have to handle this quite carefully, since he is still a valued customer whom we don’t want to antagonize. My boss and I will have a telephone interview with him next week Tuesday. (I’m not in charge of hiring, but my opinion will have an impact)
Any guidance from this great community on how to organize my thinking, what questions to ask or anything else is very welcome. Thanks for reading through this. I’m happy to answer clarifying questions.