The Trading Line
Editor’s note: Last month, Ira kicked off his new series of educational columns with advice on building relationships with clients, prospects and business partners.
n Part 2:
Taming Ethan Allen
Draw an imaginary line in the sand. Let’s call this the Trading Line. The Trading Line represents a transactional event. Your prospective client is on one side of the line. On the other side are the people from whom your prospect is buying.
Where would your client place a designer from an Ethan Allen store? On the other side of the line, of course, because this designer is about to sell your client something from inventory when she walks into the store. And even though your client may be interested in an Ethan Allen solution, this is a transactional relationship.
You’d place a car salesperson next to the Ethan Allen designer. And the sales kid from Circuit City’s camera department.
Now imagine your client is about to climb to Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas. Tenzing Norgay, her trusted sherpa, will lead the way. On which side of the line would you place Tenzing? Hopefully not with the car dealer. That could be dangerous.
Where would you place your client’s family doctor—the one who revels in hammering away at her kneecap with a rubber mallet? How about her CPA? Her personal trainer? Her kids’ baby sitter?
These trusted individuals are on your client’s side of the line, even though she has transactional relationships with each one (she does pay them, of course).
Now let’s remember back to last month’s column about Chantel. Chantel is the interior designer working with your client. Where would your client place Chantel? She’s right there next to Dr. Hammer. Another trusted member of the personal posse. Because Chantel wouldn’t—nay, couldn’t—design the living room without her client loving it. Chantel has worked hard to gain your client’s trust.