My last post got me thinking about the relationship I have with current customers and with customers in other companies I’ve owned. A good personal relationship with your customers, in my case at least some of them, is vitally important to understand your(my) own business.
But as always in live, not every relationship is going to work. I’ve had people tell me that my business idea of a Small Business Infrastructure would never work, in-fact some are downright hostile about the idea.
Those are some of the best personal relationships you can forge, because here is the thing, what are you going to learn from someone who will tell you all day your services and products are the greatest? Not a lot!
I once meet with an accountant to try and convince him that he should be offering our free accounting and business planning software to his clients for free, this to help him to get more small business clients and became the local small business accountant guru.
This guy was having none of it, he told me that my idea was silly, because nobody was going to put their data online, and anyway his clients would not do that, because it was too difficult for them.
I said, that we offered free 24/7 support and our product was accredited, so perfectly safe to use and people use online banking all the time. This all did not help at all, he was not having any of it. In fact he went as far as to suggest I had wasted a lot of money for nothing.
I left the meeting and you would probably expect me to be demoralized or feeling personally attacked, he was quite rude after all. But then I asked myself, why the hell did he even see me?
Well as it turned out he had just invested in a very expensive hosted accounting application, he needed to charge a vast amount of money for per seat to make it pay. I was invited so he could find out what we were doing, how it worked and how it would affect him – he obviously did not like what he heard. The moral of this story is, sometimes it’s true:
It’s not personal, it’s just business!
When ever you or your products are criticized, stay cool, take notes and then work out if any of it has any relevance to you. You can learn the best lessons about you products this way.
Your customers are THE best sounding board for your products and services, but don’t take everything personal. ST