Customers’ Ethics Give Leaders a Challenge
by Kate Nasser |
As business leaders, we focus on delivering value to our business customers. We take time to understand their challenges. We apply innovation and experience to move their corporations ahead. We do most of the giving in return for the business with fair trade in mind.
It is win-win business to business (B2B) success until customers’ ethics give us business leaders a tough challenge. If you are a new business owner, young entrepreneur, or new leader, this post may help you ready yourself for this surprise:
How do you respond to a customer who asks to take and use your work further without any additional payment?
Most strategists and consultants will tell you to anticipate this during initial discussions and come to agreement before doing the work. Sound advice — when it works.
Here is a situation in my business where I am surprised by customers’ ethics despite my foresight and pre-sale discussions.
On the second day of delivering my training programs, customers ask the following:
- Our HR department is hearing good things about this training program and would like to observe so they can develop something similar and do it in-house.
- Another consulting firm is here and one of their leaders would like to sit in on the training to develop something similar and use it for another area of our business.
These last minute requests are of questionable ethics. The customers are asking you to freely hand over use rights for the training program under the guise of developing something similar — and for no extra fees beyond what they are paying for just the delivery.
As awkward as this is, you still have the choice to say no and preserve the business relationship. Consider these positive replies that get you back to win-win and fair trade.
- I would be happy to meet with them after this training to discuss what they want and the fees associated with it.
- Sounds like a great business opportunity for me to work with the rest of your corporation. There are additional fees we must address before they can join in. Are they all available to meet after today’s program?
- What you are asking for is beyond the agreement for this delivery. Let’s talk after the program with those involved in order to develop an appropriate fee quote.
You do not have to work for free or cave under last minute pressures to have good customer relationships. Preparation is valuable yet be ready to handle these last minute surprises!
Experienced business leaders: What other answers would you like to share with new business owners and young entrepreneurs?
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, is celebrating her 21st year in business developing and delivering people-skills training programs for excellence in customer service, customer relations, teamwork, and leading change. See this site for more information.