Managers Say Customer Relationships Are Their Top Issue

Managers Say Customer Relationships Are Their Top Issue

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at


Managers Say Customer Relationships Are Their Top Issue

I just read a 500-word article from some consulting firm to a Fortune 10 company on one point — “managers say that relationships are important.”

Well gohleee!

Where is Gomer Pyle when you need him?

Boy, what a non-surprise.

Relationships are important?

Now you tell me!

What was I thinking all these years?

This non-information is typical of money wasted on one-dimensional consultants who tell you what you already know, but not ONE THING or ONE WORD on what to do about it.

These are the same people who think it’s important to “measure” customer satisfaction. This is not just a waste of time and money; it’s a total joke. Relationships are about loyalty, not satisfaction.

There are two words that are missing from this “relationships are important” drivel that would clarify the issue, and save hundreds of thousands on consultants who have no concept of what to do and managers who continue to focus only on symptoms or desired outcomes, rather than deal with real-world problems. The two words are: REAL ANSWERS.

Many companies tell me that they have GREAT relationships with their customers.

Many salespeople tell me that they have GREAT relationships with their customers.

Those SAME PEOPLE lose orders on PRICE to the customers they have a GREAT relationship with. WHAT?

COLD HARD FACT: If you lose an order to an existing customer because of price, you have NO RELATIONSHIP.

Let me help them — indirectly. All they have to do is read this.

But first let me help you. Because you don’t care about them.

In fact, you hope they never find out how oblivious they are, so you can continue to clean their clock. And they can continue to blame loss of customers on price,

and a bunch of other wrong reasons. Blaming instead of taking responsibility.

Here, for YOUR benefit, are 17.5 elements that will make relationship happen, instead of telling you how IMPORTANT it is:

1. Relate to me. Know my needs and issues. Engage me by showing me customers who are benefiting from doing business with you.

2. Prepare for me. Show me you have done your homework about my situation, not just yours.

3. Don’t waste my time. Don’t ask me what you could have found out on your own.

4. Tell me the truth. Truth leads to trust. I need to trust you in order to have a relationship with you.

5. Tell me how I use your product or service to build my business. I want to know how I produce in my environment.

6. Tell me how I profit from the relationship. I want to know how I profit from buying. And I want to know that you know.

7. Show me the value, not just how it works. What are the elements of value attached to your product or service that relate to me?

8. Make it easy for me to do business with you.

9. Make service available when I need it.

10. Be friendly to me. If I’m going to establish a relationship with you, I want it to be a friendly one.

11. Respond quickly. If I call you, it’s because I need you, and I need response now.

12. Deliver on time. When you tell me it’s going to be there, I expect it. And it helps reinforce my feeling that you know and meet my expectations.

13. Have answers for me when I need them. I have questions about how your product works.

14. Stay in touch with me. Keep me informed on a proactive basis. Make your messages more about me than you.

15. Let me know when things or technologies change. Keep me informed about how I can stay ahead, even if it means buying more.

16. Keep your promises. If you tell me something will happen, make it happen.

17. Be a partner, not a vendor. Tell me how we will work together. And then prove it by your deeds.

17.5 Serve me. I need to feel that service after the sale is more important than the emotion leading up to the order.

In 1998 I wrote the book, Customer Satisfaction is WORTHLESS, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. I didn’t do it for shock, I did it for the reality of what builds a relationship: loyalty.

And in order to get loyalty, you must first give it. That’s the basis for a relationship.

And for the record — relationships are not merely “important,” they’re the foundation of a strong, successful business.

Now you know what to do. Do it.

I have prepared an additional list of relationship ideas. Go to, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the words CUSTOMER WANTS in the GitBit box.