Because businesses are people.
Somewhere on the road between agrarian society and today’s established business culture, we decided that business relationships should play by different rules than personal relationships. It’s as though we think someone becomes a robot the moment he puts a brand name or job title in front of his real name.
In Honor of Valentine’s Day
Today, Marketing Profs published an article on sales and marketing blunders to avoid, acknowledging that relationships between people carry a few constant truths. Here are the five mistakes you should never make, whether in romance or business:
- Waiting Too Long to Call After a Date (failing to follow up with a lead)
- Moving Too Fast (pushing a sale before adequate trust is developed)
- Not Knowing the Deal Breakers (failing to identify non-negotiables for both parties)
- Settling for “Mr. Right Now” Instead of Waiting for “Mr. Right” (taking on ill-fitting deals instead of pursuing the best fit)
- Not Asking for Referrals (failing to lean on existing trusted relationships when looking for new ones)
The takeaway to remember is that behavior unbecoming of a real person is also unbecoming of a business.
Where did We Go Wrong?
On a certain level, it makes sense that we treat business relationships differently from personal relationships. After all, a business is a legal entity, not a person. A business has the stated mission of achieving sound financial performance and any employee working as an agent of a business must act in its best financial interests.
We call this fiduciary duty.
However, this presents a problem. If you expect real human beings to give you their money, you’ll have to bring more to the table than a selfish agenda.
Have you ever spoken to someone with an agenda? It’s not much of a conversation. If they give you a chance to speak their eyes quickly gloss over, and instead of listening they think only about what they’ll say next to get you to do what they want. They may even think you can’t tell what they’re doing, but you can.
After all, you’re not a robot. You’re a human being.
A company entrusts its agents with its financial well-being. In order for customers or employees, or any other type of stakeholder to act profitably for a company, they too must share a bond of trust with the company and its agents.
Have you empowered your employees to invest in trust for long-term success? Do your people have the freedom to pay adequate rates to vendors for the valuable work they provide? Do your supervisors have the ability to identify and reward the valuable contributions of their teams? Are you willing to report a smaller bottom line today in order to experience explosive growth in five-to-ten years?
What’s stopping you?