In my last blog article, I talked about keys to a good business deal: commitment and reality. Customers need to be committed to marketing, and realistic about what is required to accomplish their goal.
Understanding those characteristics is part of the business relationship known as qualifying. It’s what we do with each other in a transaction: You qualify me to see if I can provide the product or service you need, and I qualify you to make sure that you’re committed to doing what it takes, and spending what it takes, to get the job done.
Often, when a customer comes to us, they are dealing with an urgent problem or concern. Their attention is on the immediate situation. What we try to do is focus on the big picture and determine the underlying problem that needs to be solved. It’s long-term thinking, instead of short-term.
Occasionally, a short-term solution is all that’s necessary—like when a political candidate needs yard signs, for example. They put them out, people vote, and that’s that. Usually, however, long-term thinking is needed. There’s no point in starting a project unless we’re both committed to going all the way with it. And “all the way” might mean more than you’ve imagined. On the other hand, sometimes it may mean less. That’s why we’re here—to help you consider all the angles, all the possibilities.
As a businessman, I’m not paid to think the way you think. It’s my job to try to see things that you don’t, and to bring solutions to the table that you haven’t thought of.
Isn’t it that way with everything? No matter which vendor you’re dealing with, you expect them to come to you with innovative ideas and creative solutions. You qualify them to see if they have what it takes to make you more efficient and cost-effective.
It’s what makes free enterprise such a powerful thing. The best companies are the ones that consistently do great work, at a fair price, while exceeding expectations. The best companies are the ones that qualify to do business with you.
So when I say we qualify one another, it’s a good thing. We kick the tires, so to speak. Take the relationship for a test drive. If we both have what it takes, we’ll end up doing great work together for a long time to come.
Mike Boyd is president of Creative Source, a Canton, Ohio sign company