May 2011: For The Record

Words: Dan Kamys For The Record

Think about the positive relationships in your life, and you probably will agree that a strong relationship can be quite powerful. We can always get more done when we use our relationships to move closer toward a goal. Just as the Mason Contractors Association of America says, “Together, we are stronger.”

How much have you thought about relationship building in your business? A new book, “CoDestiny, Overcome your growth challenges by helping your customers overcome theirs,” (authors Atlee Valentine Pope and George F. Brown Jr.) has a chapter dedicated to the importance of relationships between suppliers and customers. Once a company has won a customer’s purchase decision over its competitors, the next step is to parlay the advantage and capture greater value.

The book also states that “stronger relationships between suppliers and customers – co-destiny relationships – enable both organizations to grow profitably and achieve a competitive advantage in their markets.”

Among the many other advantages of a relationship, we learn that it can act as both a multiplier and a prerequisite:

“As we consider the role of relationships in creating and capturing value, it is important to understand that the Relationship Advantage is a multiplier, not a stand-alone option. In business markets, we have never seen a firm that was successful only because of a Relationship Advantage. There are too many factors at work (eager competitors and sharp-penciled procurement managers come to mind) that will displace a firm – regardless of how strong the relationship may be – if it cannot meet the market in terms of price points and product and service contributions.

“We have learned that the Relationship Advantage frequently is a prerequisite for success with innovation or changes in the roles and boundaries of suppliers and their customers. We’ve observed far too many situations in which suppliers were thwarted in their attempts to gain new customers with a breakout offer. Their failure often was not because the technology was inadequate, but because customers lacked the solid foundation on which to balance the risks and rewards. Our research suggests that receptivity to innovation is rare unless the relationship foundation is in place. The supplier must first establish a level of confidence in its ability to execute successfully for the customer.”

Read more in “CoDestiny, Overcome your growth challenges by helping your customers overcome theirs” by contacting Greenleaf Book Group LLC at P.O. Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709 or 512-891-6100.

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