One of the most notable books of the past one hundred years is Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” I have quoted from it on a number of occasions, loving the wisdom contained in the lines of the two main characters, Dagny Taggart and John Galt. Rand, a champion of capitalism, wrote this book in support of PURE capitalism and a self-regulating market. I mention the book because I am a big fan of the mind-set that each of us, regardless of true ownership, is in our own business. The book reinforces that belief throughout its 1000+ pages. Ownership is an attitude. Ownership says ‘If the checkbook were on my desk and I had to make payroll on Friday what would I do next?”
Ownership means I approach every customer with sincere interest in his or her business and well being and know that if I provide for them I will be provided for.
It means that everything is above board, and that I have provided real solutions, and that through my actions my customer knows that I will be there for him. Not just for the next deal but for all issues that may arise. When customers know that you are straight and fair with them, they don’t shop as you as much and they don’t give an ear to the constant barrage or competitors vying for their business. This is how you build loyalty even in a down economy. Too often salespeople try to be slick and crafty rather than empathetic and useful.
This past week I had a client who was dissatisfied with the absence of a firmware fix (on a camera I sold him) that was promised by the manufacturer and long over due.
The customer owed us a lot of money and was holding out in order to apply pressure and get the firmware. He wrote an email outlining the conditions under which he would pay. I read it and thought his conditions were weak. It would have been easy for me to take his conditions, get paid and move on. Instead I called him and told him his conditions had “No teeth” and asked if he wanted to redraft something. He appreciated it so much he paid on the spot asking only that I promise to press hard to get him what he needs. I will and I guaranty that over the next year this client will give me orders totaling 5 or 10 times what he owed on this particular deal because he is CERTAIN that I have HIS best interest at heart.
Read this quote from the main character in “Atlas Shrugged” John Galt.
Galt maintained that business people who commit fraud betray their own highest values:
“Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud – that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victim to a position higher than reality where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee.”
Remember, the world is a big mirror reflecting back to you the face you bring it every day.