Building Business Relationships

Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
Sunday, September 14, 2003

A business as the study of customer desires

Mr. Coleman Lee Finkel is the perfect example of a relationship builder that knows exactly what his customers want, provides it, and enjoys his life as a business leader. At 72 (in 1992) he started the Coleman Center, a conferencing center in Midtown Manhattan, built on the understanding and research of what makes a perfect environment for meetings.

(Continue ... A Business as the Study of Customer Desires)

Age is just a number and all prospectives matter

In America, too often older executives discount their own ideas and knowledge. I think this happen because of our youth oriented culture. However, I find our senior population has a keen understanding of humanistic details necessary for strong and sustainable business relationships. 

I'm involved in various organizations with average age of membership well over 59 years old-- perhaps this is why I respect their knowledge. Many of my mentors have thirty or more years in their field. Unfortunately, I see a constant push for younger members as if what they have isn't valuable enough. Are you pushing the same way in your company?

In most non-European cultures, elders are in a position to offer guidance and development of the younger population. This practice is highly valuable and often overlooked in more "modern" societies. [While socioeconomic and other issues may be the case, my emphasis is the trend to say, "out with the old, in with the new" when it comes to members of an organization.]

Granted people of any classification are at various levels of value, and there are those who haven't learned from their experiences in all age groups-- as far as business relationships are concerned, senior level staff hold a greater chance of already experiencing or knowing what is necessary for your company to win the customers you desire.

Mixed teams of young and old work best-- but before you even think of putting someone out to pasture for their age, consider the experience value you will lose!  Invite leaders in your field to consult your organization, even into their 70's and 80's when possible. Respect their inputs while honoring the knowledge they hold and your business will grow.

You'll be surprised in what you find. The mind knows no age, and people have the capacity for knowledge at all ages. Things really haven't changed that much, human nature is consistent over time-- even when technology changes around us. When was the last time you really understand how things used to be?

Justin Hitt helps executives build profitable relationships with customer, employees, and strategic partners. He can be reached by phone at +1 (877) 207-3798 or on-line at

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Are you trying hard to be like everyone else?

Albert Camus. "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." [Quotes of the Day]

How much effort does your company put into being like your competitors?  It seem so many organizations try to hard to keep up with those around them, and don't actually produce any new innovation of their own. Do you really want to keep up with someone who's likely trying to be like you?

Things you can do to be different so that you attract more profitable customers:

  1. Answer the "well your competitors is doing it" question with "so what?"  Help your customers understand that if you and your competitors were the same, then one of you isn't needed. Instead of matching competitors pricing in the B2B world, explain the result they get for the dollar spent with you.
  2. Document your differences in every marketing piece.  In addition to describing why you are the same as competitors, also note what makes you different. Focus on solid reasons your way is the better way, and what that means to your customer.
  3. Hold the business relationship up as an important difference of value.  If you have any unique value it's that your existing customer choose to do business with you. Find out why current customers selected you and leverage this in how you seek new customers.
  4. While people want consistency, they want to be special.  Demonstrate how your organization is consistent in the market place, but how receiving a solution through you provides unique value that helps customers stand out in a positive way. "Like other companies we do X, and how we do it gives you Y."
  5. Find six ways to do things one better than competitors.  Don't match them, beat them by being just a little bit better, but only where it is important to your customers. This might mean doing things completely differently or using better methods. Talk with your customers to determine what they want and will purchase if you offered.

Professional business isn't high school, it's okay to be different. If you're just like everyone else, how can you provide a unique value that customers want?  Couldn't you use that "keeping up" energy to provide unique value that customers would buy?

Justin Hitt teaches executives how to create strong business relationships that can increase profits while improving customer loyalty. To learn more about business relationships visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (877) 207-3798

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Last update: 04/08/2004; 2:35:26 PM.

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