Are you continuing to do business with business owners who make you feel like disposable clients?
Over the past month, I ceased doing business with three of my long-term vendors. Yes, I completely walked away from these relationships.
There was no other choice to make.
As a business strategist, I somehow felt responsible for not “fixing” what I found was deteriorating in their business, service quality, and operational models. It was as though I was working for them, rather than being their client. Consequently, upon reflection, I realized that my optimism and belief in their ability to actually want to self-correct prolonged our business relationship far longer than it merited.
These vendors remained resistant to process improvements. Plus, their pandemic small business loans continued in the post-pandemic. As a result, there was no downside to dealing with their business dysfunction. With guaranteed cash flow, some vendors even failed to invoice clients in a timely manner. (Frankly, this post-pandemic business model is one I do not want my business to be associated with.)
The simple truth and basic tenet of any business relationship is that vendors work for clients, not the opposite. Customer experience drives customer loyalty.
These businesses, and business people, treat customers like disposable clients. Yet their businesses, post-pandemic, are nowhere close to creating the revenue stream they enjoyed pre-pandemic.
So I had a long talk with myself. For starters, I realized I was far more emotionally co-invested in supporting their businesses through the pandemic than they valued my business. Thus, the quality of relationship I thought I had with them was strictly transactional.
Yet here’s the thing: people always ask me to refer them to vendors of worth. Consequently, in the past few weeks, I was asked about these three former vendors in particular. In response, I said I could no longer recommend them to anyone, for anything. I left it at that: no further explanation. No drama. No juicy details. Just. Clinical. Business. Precision. You convey a whole lot more when you are succinct.
So how about you? Are you discovering that the people you did business with before and during the pandemic are simply not the same people – and businesses – you originally found attractive? Are you giving yourself permission to walk away from these relationships? Perhaps it is time you did so. Otherwise you haul around a whole lot of stress you actually have a high degree of control over.
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Change Agent | Collaboration Catalyst | Complex Problem Solver | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Author |
Babette Ten Haken is a refreshingly extroverted STEM professional and skeptical thinker focused on purpose-driven, professional innovation. Her keynotes, breakouts, workshops and coaching programs help people, teams and organizations catalyze people to ask the right questions, the right way, so they define and solve the right problems as they design products, services, careers and cultures. Babette’s ability to translate cross-functional conversations between left-brain and right-brain thinkers paves new pathways to successful collaboration between people who are hired because they solve problems differently. Think of the strategic business and human capital value of moving beyond avoidance or group-think, together. Instead, let your creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills co-develop together, one millimeter at a time. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here.