An Innovator Who Knows What Clients Want

Corporate Business
Keiji Matsumoto
Osaka Business Department

Describe your role and job responsibilities.

I rely on SMFL’s strengths for guiding my proposal-based sales approach that attracts clients in any industry.

My clients are mostly small and mid-size businesses in Osaka. By drawing on the strengths of our leasing options, installment payment plans and other services, I can put together attractive proposals for capital investment and other types of business support.

I also collaborate on projects with the Business Promotion and Environmental Business Promotion Departments of SMFL’s business advisory division. Lately I’ve been working more closely with the latter because of the need for proposals containing subsidies for energy-saving equipment and technologies. Collaboration across organizational lines is a key part of my work, and I rely a lot on our administrative staff to prepare necessary documentation.

What are the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of your work?

There’s nothing better than knowing that my proposal is perfectly in synch with the client’s needs!

The greatest reward comes the instant I learn that a proposal matches client requirements to a T. It’s great reinforcement, and shows that I’ve understood what the client wants and have developed a pretty strong bond. Not all proposals are winners, though. Sometimes, even if I think I’ve nailed it, the client might ultimately reject my proposal. When that happens I roll up my sleeves and carefully go over what I submitted, then reflect on my overall approach. I can’t win them all, but I can learn from all I do.

Once when I informed my clients and suppliers that I was getting transferred, many of them thanked me for my services. This was a really nice surprise. I knew I had been useful to them, but that was the first time I ever received direct praise from a client.

Describe a particularly challenging episode at work.

One that comes to mind was a project that used subsidies to cut energy costs for a supermarket chain. Frequently changing equipment specifications made this project really demanding.

I had proposed that the chain update equipment for a certain store to reduce electricity usage. The proposal called for me to work with a supplier and use ESCO* purchasing incentives and subsidies from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to lower costs for the new equipment.

The client was allowed to choose the refrigerators, freezers, air-conditioning, lighting and other equipment. Their choices would determine the cost estimate and subsidy amount. But as the reopening date of the store approached, the client kept changing equipment, each time necessitating laborious calculations of the revised estimate. There was also a mountain of paperwork that had to be submitted to the organization handling the subsidy. I had to lean heavily on our business advisory department and administrative staff to get everything done on time. But in the end, all our work paid off. The client got what they wanted and seemed quite happy with our efforts.

* ESCO is a program for using projected savings on utility expenses to reduce the purchase costs for energy-efficient capital investments.

Someone I Respect

Masami Kobayashi
Hanwa Business Department

I previously spent five years under Mr. Kobayashi in the Osakakita Business Department. Before joining the team, my clients had been mainly equipment suppliers, so I knew next to nothing about the needs of end users. Mr. Kobayashi understood this and taught me everything I needed to know. That I’ve had quite a bit of success with end users as a member of this department is testament to his thorough mentoring. Now, he and I are friends both professionally and outside the office. We often meet for tennis or other fun on weekends.

Private Shot

Seeing my son grow up is beyond special

Last year I took my son skiing for the first time in his life. He picked it up fast, and watching him glide down the slope made me think it would be great if I could learn things at work as easily. On weekends we sometimes play tennis or watch baseball games. I used to be a fan of a team in eastern Japan, but having worked in western Japan for over ten years has turned me into a Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes fan.

Note:Department names and assigned positions are subject to change.