Florian’s company typically performed very well. But for several months, he had felt like one of the unhappiest men on the planet. Times were tough: sales had plummeted, profits were down, and an important head of department had left the company.
Florian tried to explain to his bosses that the entire industry was in crisis mode and that practically all of his competitors were suffering tremendous financial losses too. “Unacceptable,“ his bosses said. “Be more aggressive. Push your team forward. Your job is not to complain but to come up with solutions.”
Florian spent hours on end with his team trying to turn things around, but to no avail. Time was running out–the end of the year inched ever closer. Finally, in September, Florian was called into headquarters and introduced to the newly hired Regional Sales Manager, Michael, and his team.
These new guys seemed to be “miracle troubleshooters.” With Michael in charge, they introduced their sales methods to the entire department, effortlessly boosting sales figures on multiple markets. Then they received their new task: rejuvenate Florian’s floundering business.
Michael’s approach was straightforward. After countless meetings with Florian’s sales team, Michael gave them a simple choice: either you join us, or you leave. Full of doubts about Michael’s business tactics, Florian chose the latter.
To his surprise, most of his team members stayed on and started to deliver results. Orders came in so rapidly that Florian grew suspicious. Why had some of the salesmen become so successful overnight? He knew that if he asked them outright, the answer would be: “We simply try harder now.”
While out chatting with friends one night, Florian raised the subject of his former job and mentioned the “sales miracle” that had occurred. All seemed amazed and enthusiastic about this story—except for Florian’s friend Joachim.
“I’ve met such ‘miracle’ makers before, too,” Joachim commented. His face was serious. Without another word, he handed over a very unusual black business card.
“Who is this Mr Black?” Florian wondered but received no answers from Joachim. Nevertheless, after hearing about yet another bizarre miracle deal at his old company, he made a phone call.
After a conversation with one of Mr Black’s representatives, he didn’t have long to wait for answers. Experts from Mr Black returned within just a few days…with an explanation of recent events that confirmed his suspicions.
What was the truth? Michael’s team had already known their “brand-new” customers well for a long time. These so-called customers were hired by Michael to place fake orders, while Michael’s team provided them with sham services. Never had there been any real sales, nor was there any real money involved. Sales statistics had increased, but with no real sales made. Michael owed his success to statistical manipulations and outright fraud.
With an entire dossier in his pocket, Florian flew to his former headquarters. Together with a representative from Mr Black, he presented the case. Michael had used his “miracle” methods to boost sales across all markets.
Florian did not deliver any new sales plans. But he saved the company from being defrauded, and for that, his superiors were grateful. Florian returned to his job, and police put an end to Michael’s fraudulent game.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation and you’re questioning whether people are defrauding your company, follow this advice: ask for a background check on all individuals involved in the situation. Have they been implicated in similar incidents in their personal history? What about with previous employers? And their clients? Can you trace cashflow, or are there gaps and missing amounts? Every irregularity, no matter how small, should be noted in order to carry out a proper analysis of evidence. If necessary, you can even consider doing faked purchases yourself as a test. Above all, remain calm and hire an expert who will provide you with all the information you need to solve any problems discreetly.
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.