Surely you have heard it before, maybe even said to yourself a few times, especially if you work directly with clients, vendors, sales forces or re-sellers and distributors.
That beautiful, simple, short and definitely empty and over used phrase that goes: “Don’t think of me as your vendor or client or dealer, see me as your partner.”
Come on! Be honest, you’ve said it, right? Practically every single business person I know, including myself, has used this phrase when working on a sale or to close a deal.
The problem is though that we’ve used those words so much that they’ve lost their meaning, or even worse its meaning has changed so much that for some people today, when they listen a sales rep saying it they really end up hearing “I’m only interested in your money and as soon as you sign I’ll move on to my next “partner” who might pay me more than you”
Don’t get me wrong please. I’m not saying we shouldn’t focus on generating revenue to our business; the issue I’m talking about is how.
A real business partner is not worried about how much revenue his “partners” will generate for him. A partner (be it a client, a vendor or a re-seller) is not a profit farm or a never ending fountain of money for us to drain.
Having a partnership requires a huge commitment on our part, a commitment to put, in the majority of the occasions, the interests of our partner before ours. Being a great partner means that we are always looking for new ways to help our partners, their partners and us too, win.
Being a great partner requires us not only to sympathize with our clients and that we tell them that we “understand” how they feel; it demands that we empathize with them completely! It requires that we make ours their objectives. We need to understand their goals, their strengths and opportunities, etc. so that based on these we come up with proposals and solutions to help them meet their goals, even if doing so does not generates an instant financial gain for us, because in the long run (and the not so long really) being a great partners will bring a whole lot more benefits to our business than just the frequent closing of a sale. It will bring us loyalty, affinity, understanding and even ambassadors of our company too.