Your clients are either going to believe that you are their strategic partner or that you are their vendor. You determine which of these categories they put you in by your behavior, your actions.
If you behave like you are a vendor, then you are going to be treated like a vendor. If you behave like you are their strategic partner, you are going to be treated like you are something much more than a vendor. But it starts and ends with you.
Transactional Behavior, Transactional Relationship
If you treat your clients business like a series of transactions, they will treat your relationship like a transaction, too. They’ll focus on price. They’ll share their spending across other vendors. They won’t take your calls.
By never creating anything more than a transactional level of value, you’ll never capture any real value. You’ll never command your client’s wallet share.
Value Creating Behavior, Strategic Partner
If you act like you are your client’s strategic partner, owning your share of the outcomes that you sell, bringing them new ideas, working the relationships within their company to find new ways to create value, they’ll treat you like you are their strategic partner.
By taking the actions that a strategic partner would take, you create more value for your client. And by doing so, you capture more value yourself in the way of mind share, wallet share, and profit. They treat you like you are strategic, not transactional.
The way your clients perceive you, the way they treat you, is based on the way you behave. You can’t wait for them to treat you like the strategic partner you want to be before you start behaving that way. You are going to get back what you put out. You have to go first.
What set of actions make your relationships transactional?
What actions make your relationships strategic?
How do you become your client’s strategic partner when the relationship begins as something less than that, like a series of transactions?
Why do you have to go first and behave the way you want to be treated?