Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships

Shift Your Thinking to the Long Haul

In the world of social media and Web 2.0 (or 3.0, depending on your stance) it often seems the world is speeding past us. Some of the bad business habits that might have slid by a few years ago are getting called on the carpet, and with good reason.

A recent conversation with Marc Corsini, an acquaintance who helps businesses build better relationships, revealed common ground we are both seeing. To us, winning any project at the expense of everything else, including one’s reputation, is not winning long term.

Just today, one of our customers called me to say he had been under “political” pressure to make a decision that was not ethically right. If he did not succumb , there was a chance he may lose his customer on future deals. He went on to say that life is about making the correct judgment calls, even if it means losing a customer. This is the type of customer relationship everyone needs.

Success is about getting a project, keeping one’s integrity intact is equally important. We need to remain who we are to the core, not just to make the sale. Otherwise it becomes pretty shallow long term.

When we begin to think about a new customer, we try to think about the long haul. Does the customer have a character and a culture fit for us? Can ideas be shared for mutual success? Can we both listen to each, other sharing thoughts? For us, considering this mix leads to longterm and meaningful customer relationships.


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.