Some lessons I’ve learned on the Internet (or how to read
learn to love Microsoft).
On the Internet, everything and everyone is interconnected.
What this means, contrary to popular belief, is everyone knows
you’re a dog (if, that is, you are a dog). Hence, you can’t do
just a few things right, you have to do everything right.
Unfortunately, this is impossible. But people will give you
some slack if you’ve built a good relationship with them.
So, companies that call their best customers thieves, and
treat them that way, won’t have many best customers.
Or in other words, make sure your business is in alignment
with your customers. If your customer’s needs would be best met
by buying “widget A”, but you only sell “whizbang B”, perhaps
the answer is to advise them to buy “widget A”, rather than
give them five false reasons to switch to “whizbang B”. Then,
start making a better, cheaper, faster “widget A”, which you
can then sell to your customers.
Which leads me to this. Building a bridge of trust
takes a long, long time. Bringing it down can be done in less
than an Internet second. Earn your customer’s trust and they
will stick with you, even when you make an occasional honest
mistake. Burn them by lying to them, even “just” once, and they
are gone forever.
Which logically leads to: take the long view. If you focus
only on the immediate sale, as if it was life or death and
nothing else mattered (as was the Business 101 mantra during
the “Greed is Good” 1980s), you probably won’t make the sale
nor survive into the future. Sales are about relationships.
Sometimes the introductions are made by you and sometimes the
customer introduces themselves. But the introduction is just
the beginning of what should be a long relationship. Like the
Zen masters say, searching for happiness is a search left
unfound. But, helping others to find their own happiness will
lead to you finding yours.
So remember, everything and everyone is interconnected.
Align yourself with your customers. Build that bridge of trust.
Take the long view. Now, snatch
the pebble from my hand.