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Thanksgiving is past. Christmas is fast approaching (too fast for most of us). New Year’s is just around the corner. This time of year is oft used for reflection and no matter what your business, that reflection should include how you look at and treat your customers.

Companies that look at customers as (mainly) a revenue source are missing something. It has to be a win-win relationship. Or, as per point number two of Rotary International’s Four-Way Test, “Is it fair to all concerned?”

In my day-to-day world of business buy-sell I see too many examples of people hoping to win the transaction versus being fair to all concerned. Sellers who inflated the value of the inventory, those who nickel and dime for every dollar, buyer’s who don’t understand there are no perfect businesses and want to pick apart every little flaw, in spite of the company’s profits.

Heck, a local intermediary group had a meeting focused on how business sellers (and their brokers) can keep the buyer from sapping their cash at closing and post-close. If you look at it from the perspective of the other side “stealing” from you, your actions will be quite different than if you want it to be win-win.

As we plan for the calendar change, one of the most important parts of our planning should be how we can provide a (positive) difference and the value our customers receive from us. If we provide massive amounts of value the money will follow. Focusing on price, fees, commissions, etc. is not sustainable. As a sales manager told me many years, don’t even think about the commission, think about the benefit to the customer.

“Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room.” Christine Todd Whitman

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