The Client Is Not Your Friend

My last post was about operating as a collaborator with your prospects and clients. I feel the need to clarify this. Your client is not a collaborator with you. The partnership is strictly one-way. To think otherwise is to jeopardize your business relationship with that client.

I'll use an example to make my point. There's a small family owned business that offers a product to their clients. They are fortunate to have some corporate clients as well as local walk-in business. Since it is owned by a husband and wife team, they juggle their family responsibilities with their business responsibilities.

The other day they got a call from a corporate client looking for the packing slip from a recent delivery. The husband of the team explained to the client that this was something his wife usually handled. However, it was the last day of school, she was a room mother, and was over at the school. The client's response, 'This is of no concern to me.' At this point, the husband/business owner gots mad at the client - not on the phone, but in his head. After all, his was a family-friendly business, blah, blah, blah.

He has now learned a valuable lesson in business. HOW he runs his business is of no interest to the client. The client simply cares about receiving a quality product at a fair price on time. That's it. To expect the client to be understanding of anything else is unrealistic. There is no friendship in business - business is business. In other words, he can have a family-friendly business but that must be transparent to the client. Their needs still have to be met.

Business owners can make any decision they want about how they choose to run their business. That's part of the deal. However, it is essential to remember that those decisions have consequences. Hopefully, they are all good consequences, but they may not be. The wise business owner has considered this and is prepared for what may come.

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