Business Practices

Don’t just sell something. Create a win-win.

How would you describe a win-win business relationship? Is it just a platitude pulled from a business book; a soundbite you trot out during PowerPoint presentations? Or is it a living breathing philosophy you execute on every day?

You’ve probably experienced relationships with suppliers, clients or others that just feel right – there’s an ease of communication, you have matching values, and both parties are passionate about each other’s success.

On the other hand, you might have had relationships that are detrimental to one or both parties. The most maddening is when only one side can see benefits to the relationship.

The problem I’ve seen all too often in my industry is when large businesses treat products and services as commodities, and they try to sell as many of them as possible to earn the largest commission.

This aggressive selling strategy is not right for the SME market, and it misses the opportunity to meet individual requirements that are necessary to support the business in question. Furthermore, the ‘quick-sell then up-sell’ strategy often overlooks the importance of an SME’s future growth plan, and to deliver a long-term solution that is easily scalable.

A great business relationship always seeks a win for both sides.

Before you know it, you can find yourself locked in a four or five-year contract, paying for unused capacity, or unable to expand quickly to meet demands, and ultimately losing out on business and productivity – all while your provider enjoys their regular pay cheque.

Does this leave you wondering how to avoid win-lose relationships in the future?

It might be the time for you to explore beyond the traditionally large and mature system providers. Not all providers are focused on aggressively selling you confusing and option-laden systems!

Look for a service provider who:

  • Is solutions-focused rather than sales-focused
  • Is experienced with (and cares about) the SME market
  • Asks detailed questions about your organization’s specific needs
  • Can tailor a solution to accommodate your specific needs
  • Delivers a real solution that aligns with your growth plans and can evolve to meet your future needs

A great business relationship balances the gains on both sides. There’s really no such thing as a win-lose relationship. In the end, all relationships become either lose-lose or win-win. Because even if you score a temporary ‘win’ at the expense of your client (i.e. you over-charge, you limit their growth, your pricing or service suite is too complex), they will eventually drop you.

You both lose.

ServiceTree was founded upon the same ethos we used to build our MSP into a nationwide business. Our goal from the outset was to make the lives of everyone in an MSP easier, more productive and enjoyable.

We’ve experienced considerable gains in our own business, and we’d like you to experience them, too. And that’s how we define a genuine win-win.

We call it 360-degree support automation for MSPs, and when you’re ready, we’d love to show it to you.

Business Practices

Leverage your people’s personal strengths

Building a successful business is difficult, but notwithstanding the threats of competition, market-driven margin shrinkage, and the ever-increasing technology demands, the principles remain simple.

Create something of value that people want, at a price they’re prepared to pay, and deliver on your promises consistently.

However, as soon as you throw people into the mix – the people whose job it is to deliver – the waters get muddied. Investing in the right people, then giving them the tools and incentives they need is one of the toughest pieces of the puzzle. It’s where many businesses struggle, and it’s an area where the old top-down industrial-age paradigm fails.

Giving staff a set of tasks to perform and a commensurate remuneration package is no longer enough. The simple reason is, it ignores a fundamental driver of performance – personal strengths.

Most of us are competent at many things, terrible at others and outstanding in just a few. The trouble is, we rarely get to do the things we’re brilliant at and instead, spend most of our time doing stuff we’re competent, mediocre or terrible at. This is like buying a Porsche Macan Turbo luxury SUV, then spending all your time tackling the rocky trails of the High Country. It’s going to struggle. Sure, it’ll be incredible along the occasional fast and well-graded dirt road but it’ll be hopelessly ineffective everywhere else.

Plenty of job roles are approached the same way. We hire brilliant sales professionals but then we force them to prepare onerous reports or PowerPoint presentations. Or we force gifted engineers or software techs to deliver sales pitches to prospective clients – or worse, put them on stage at a convention. Some are born for that; most aren’t.

Employers who don’t identify and leverage their people’s unique strengths operate from the only alternative there is; from weakness. Forcing people to do stuff where they flounder is pointless. No one wins.

The same approach is actively promulgated in schools, where children are taught to work harder on their weaknesses rather than build on and maximize their strengths.

Given our brief time on this planet and how much of it is devoted to working, people do a whole lot better (and are much happier, too) if they dedicate their energy to something that truly resonates with them; something that comes naturally and just feels, ‘right.

I believe that if ever there was a secret to happiness, this must surely be it. Doing something that excites you every day and getting paid to do it.

There’s been plenty of research on this subject, and the results are no less startling that they are believable.

Possibly the largest study ever conducted on the value of personal strengths commenced in the mid 20th century by Donald O. Clifton from Gallup. It was later augmented my best-selling author, Tom Rath, culminating in the world-famous assessment called StrenghtsFinder 2.0. After surveying more than 10 million people from around the world, they distilled their findings into 34 core talents, the most dominant of which people could uncover for themselves by undergoing their assessment.

One of the most compelling findings of their research is the response to a simple statement. The statement goes something like this: “I get to do what I’m best at every day.” Two-thirds of respondents disagreed with this declaration and of those, 100% of them said they felt emotionally disengaged from their job. Moreover, the one-third who did agree with this statement were six times more likely to be engaged in their work and more than three times more likely to be enjoying an excellent quality of life.

As the famous business guru, Peter Drucker said, “Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. And yet, a person can perform only from their personal strengths.”

The key mantra for Gallup’s decades of research is quite simple. The key to human development is building on who you already are. In other words, despite what you’ve believed since you were a kid, you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be a great deal more of who you already are.

A business where everyone on the team is playing to their personal strengths – where the areas in which they’re lacking are delegated to those who revel in those tasks – will outperform a business that ignores this principle. It’s incumbent on ambitious employers to be very cognizant of each team member’s unique attributes; then to put those towards the right tasks.

The outcome is an engaged and loyal workforce plus a highly effective and exciting place to work. It’s the ultimate win/win.

Today, a lot of the onerous, repetitive and altogether unpleasant tasks in a support team can be automated. That’s why we created ServiceTree – to make everyone’s lives easier, more productive/profitable and enjoyable. We’d be happy to show you.