I think the pendulum has swung a bit far today. The perception that there are so many options because of saturated marketing and abundance of information on the internet and media channels can so often spoil us as customers. It’s consumerism taken to the maximum self-centered position that is purported.
But being a bad client has consequences. You still do business with people, and your reputation or future needs may be jeopardized if you cut off your options by mishandling relationships with people that offer high value.
If you want to get to your goals, it is important to remember that you need people, specifically talented people, to help you.
Here are some of my thoughts working with consulting clients on what makes for a great business relationship. If you care enough, you won’t cut off your options, but nurture them instead.
Show Respect at All Times
Respect creates a relationship.
Is there ever a need to show disrespect? In cases where there is overt antagonism or hostility, then I can see where it is warranted.
Without respect, however, there is a cornerstone missing ingredient. If you are tempted to mistreat others without reason, you may need to look at your own insecurities. You can always be kind.
Know Your Role
There are times in a relationship when you must lead in order to drive clarity, for example. Other times you need to follow when you are not the expert.
Still other times, it is best to get out of the way. If you care about the real goals of your pursuits, then you would do well to know when to act accordingly.
If you say you are going to do something, then get to it. Keep your commitments and meet your deadlines. This goes for tasks, appointments and payments.
It’s not just your vendor that has to perform. There is an interdependency that requires timeliness from you as a client. Keep high standards for yourself just as you expect from the other party. Your position shifts in the mind of your service provider based on how you behave as well.
People make the world go around. They help open up opportunities and augment your blind spots. I doubt very seriously you can achieve much without the help of others.
The key is to recognize that relationships are worth respecting and caring for. It is bigger thinking, and it is wise to make it a priority to allow yourself to be served well and be a good client in return. It’s good business.