“Thrice Around the Block”

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Warning: this post contains promotional material!

One of our clients had an “aha” moment the other day.  He was describing accounts that his company had lost over the years, when my business partner asked: “What did all those accounts have in common?”  After pausing to think, the client said: “In each case where we lost an account, it was after a change in personnel, either at our company or at our customer.  Where we’ve retained accounts over the years, there’s been a continuity of personnel; those relationships have endured even though there have been product and service issues.”

This got me to thinking about the importance of relationships in business, and about a series of three blog posts (http://www NULL.thricearoundtheblock NULL.com/) that my business partner Ed Oh recently wrote about the sales process.  I’d like to quote from Ed’s post “Fear of Selling (http://www NULL.thricearoundtheblock NULL.com/2010/04/fear-of-selling NULL.html),” because I think it’s a nice distillation of the “business-as-relationship” concept:

“But what sometimes gets lost in all the press about Wall Street abuses is that good business is based on relationships, not transactions.  In fact, I would assert that it is when a business relationship shifts towards being purely transactional, that abuses flourish.  The fact that money changes hands in a business relationship shouldn’t negate the mutual benefits to be derived from that relationship…Just think about products or services that you’ve purchased that you’ve been happy with.  Did the fact that money was involved taint the relationship?  Or did you feel like you got a good value?”

Ed’s blog “Thrice Around the Block” (http://www NULL.thricearoundtheblock NULL.com/) is a great read for those of you interested in technology commercialization.  I especially recommend his post (http://www NULL.thricearoundtheblock NULL.com/2010/04/confident-selling NULL.html) on Steve Blank’s (http://steveblank NULL.com/)Customer Development Model (http://www NULL.slideshare NULL.net/sblank/customer-development-at-startup2startup),” which is a must-understand methodology for folks starting companies.  Check it out!

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