Are you working with THE new currency of business?
Or are you stuck in the way things used to be?
Here’s what I mean: As American business has evolved over the last few decades, especially in the “boom” times of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, a clear social contract emerged between clients and customers.
What was this contract?
In short, relationships that were “transaction-based.”
Here’s how it went: I pay money for a product, and you provide me with the product… as long as the product was good and worked as advertised, everyone was happy because everyone got what they wanted out of the transaction. This contract existed for decades.
However, in the early 2000’s, this social contract was shattered by scandal.
Blow-ups like Enron and Goldman Sachs, the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and many others revealed that people were taking advantage of the system, providing counterfeit services, and manipulating the books. This created a growing skepticism in the Western marketplace.
People started asking:
- “What happened to I pay, you provide?”
- “Now, who can I trust?”
- “Is bigger really better?”
- “Do I really know who I’m doing business with?”
So a new currency emerged.
As this old contract fell away, a different paradigm emerged between sellers and their market. Instead of a transaction-based engagement, it is now a relational-based engagement.
Relational capital is the new currency, and it means the rules of business have completely changed.
Connections are now based on trust, character and integrity, which means fostering new customers takes more time. We need to learn to provide multi-dimensional value, rather than just deliver goods. Continued investments must be made to keep the relationship secure over the long haul.
So the question is this: Are you working with this new currency?
If you want to have fruitful customer relationships over time, you must think through two things:
- How am I authentically connecting and building trust with my customers?
- How will I continue to be distinct (or stand out) in my customers’ minds?
There are many ways to keep your relational capital high. For example:
- Thinking about innovation
- Anticipating needs
- Cultivating integrity
Authentic connection combined with clear distinctives create the opportunity for profitable and enjoyable long-term relationships. This is the win/win scenario of collaboration, which defines the climate of today’s marketplace.
Gut Check Questions: Think through the following questions:
- How skilled are we as a business at anticipating the needs of our customers?
- Is “trust building” a key component to our strategy of growth as an organization? Where does it show up in our day-to-day?
- How committed are we to innovation and always adding new value?
Conclusions & Next Steps
Is this the way that you look at your customers? Are you focused on the relationship as much as the dollar amount?
Use our free download, the Connection / Distinction Matrix as you think through your strengths and weaknesses in light of how you engage your market and your customers.
The landscape has changed. The question is, have you changed with it?
Enjoy the journey,
Brandon at Onward Coaching