It Is Always People First – Then the Rest Will Follow
I have been working since I was 12 and my conclusion is clear:
It Is Always People First – Then the Rest Will Follow.
If you want to build and run a successful business, if you want to establish and maintain giving relationships, and if you want to become and remain a happy person, then treat people with respect. And give more than you expect to receive.
I have also learned that I cannot respect everybody. And I cannot give to everybody either. It is just impossible. Some people have values and behavior that are incompatible with mine. It is not my purpose in life to change others, but I do have the option of choosing with whom I want to work (professionally and privately). Making this selection is an ongoing effort, and it is a prerequisite for investing the time and effort required for making the relationships work well for both parties.
So what should your selection criteria then be?
This post is about professional relationships, and I have the same standards for clients, partners, and vendors. Let me share my three most important selection criteria with you.
Passion for professional excellence
I look for the spark in the eye. The passion for becoming and remaining the best. People with a portfolio or a long list of references can show what they have already achieved. However, I can also work with a rookie that demonstrates the drive for excellence.
Look for people who keep improving the quality of your work.
I have commitments and deadlines. If my clients, vendors, and partners let me down, then I cannot deliver on my promises. It happens all the time for all of us, but people have various ways of managing their deadlines and commitments.
Do not make promises that you cannot or do not intend to keep. NEVER. Don’t tell a supplier that she should call back another day if you have no intention of talking to her anyway. Don’t say you will deliver tomorrow and then don’t. I can respect people who say no, but not people who say yes and then disappear.
People that fail to notify of delays represent a risk. That goes for customers, partners and vendors alike. Stay away from people who hide when things go awry.
And a note on payment.
Failing to pay on time is one of the greatest signs of disrespect that you can pull off. In most business transactions payment comes at the time of commitment or after delivery. Failing to pay on time is breaking a vital part of the agreement. If you have a money problem, then keep it your problem and do not shift it to your vendor. Notify the seller, make arrangements for the payment, but never just ignore your obligation.
Focus on the value
Although salespeople receive training in value creation, it doesn’t come easily to most.
You can observe when people have a focus on providing value rather than fixing their price and getting the deal done. What questions do they ask? Do they work hard to understand your situation, your ambitions, your needs or your deadlines? Do they provide value already in the project definition phase before quoting a price? Do you feel they want to help or do they want to make a sale?
Treat those people with respect
Now that you have picked the people to work with, make sure that you do your utmost to help them become successful. Irrespective of which role they play in your value chain. Accept that they make mistakes, and assist them in overcoming them. As long as you observe that they go out of their way to serve you, then you should go out of your way to serve them too.
You now have a formula for unlimited growth.