I mentioned on Mary Gravitt’s blog in answer to something she said about people excusing Trump’s vulgar behavior because he’s in business that I wouldn’t hire Trump and could write about that. Ron asked me to elaborate.
I’ve been in business for my adult life, starting a summer in college, part of it working for my father, part of it working with my father, part of it working alone. There are aspects of my business that have shifted over time, though some are remarkably stable. There are people I deal with, at least on occasion, who I have known for more than forty years.
What that tells you is that I depend heavily on repeat business. Actually, a whole lot of businesses do. How many times have you been on the phone with a business where you were asked to take a survey after your call? How many times have you had businesses you deal with ask you to take an online survey about them? These businesses want you back.
Here’s how they don’t get you back:
- Get too arrogant with you, particularly to the extent of treating you as less than significant.
- Fail to learn anything about what they’re doing, like Trump has done with government. That’s a great way to show a customer they’re not worth your effort. The same goes for the public.
- Back you into a corner. Not an experience you’d like to experience again and, if you have a chance to avoid having it again, you won’t. Guess how?
- Act like their priorities utterly trump yours, that they count to themselves way more than you do. If their competition treats you better, who are you doing business with?
- Renege on a deal. Nothing helps a negotiation like going into it with zero credibility. Also, nothing destroys credit so quickly.
- Lie to you and get caught. See above.
- Try to structure deals that take advantage of you as if you were the enemy. If you want a deal to be stable, supported by all parties rather than any of the participating parties constantly attempting to undermine it, you have to watch your partners’ interests so they have a vested interest in your arrangement continuing.
- Treat you like you have nowhere else to go. Sooner or later you will have elsewhere to go and, at that point, you’re going. If you were treated well, you’d stay, and anyone else looking to move your business would have an uphill fight. In my business, people change jobs within a rather small industry, so the guy who thinks you screwed him could easily end up somewhere very important to you.
- Avoid responsibility for anything and everything. If you do business with someone, there has to e some sense that they’ll bother to have a back other than their own 100% of the time.
- Act entitled. Salespeople aren’t. Nor are service people.
- Violate confidences, like Trump did with intelligence to the Russians. American diplomats and the military had fits when Trump passed Israeli intelligence to the Russians without Israeli permission.
Any of these could easily be a dealbreaker. But all of them at once?
I honestly don’t understand why anyone is stupid enough to do business with this guy.
Maybe it’s the Selling Ice To Eskimos bit. He might be able to pull it off, but Eskimos don’t need ice, and if that hasn’t occurred to them, it will.
If a salesperson is really good, they can sell ice to an Eskimo once. If they’re exceptional, twice. Just don’t show up in that neighborhood for a third sale.
If you aren’t welcome in the neighborhood for the third sale, it gets awfully difficult to close.
Ron, I hope this is what you had in mind.