I have always struggled with the concept of telling people what they want to hear rather than what you perceive to be the truth. As a result I am sure that NWES has lost some business as I refuse to compromise just to gain a contract. Is this the right way to do business? Many will call me a fool however my personal beliefs are what drives the company and whilst I will never be highly popular by “telling it straight” I do hope that I am highly respected.
In business there are two ways to look at the gaining of customers – a short term, transactional approach or a long term relationship strategy. I prefer the latter which means having an honest and open relationship with the customer. Often this means telling them NOT to buy your product or service and sometimes even going to a competitor who may be better placed to deliver a solution to that particular need. In a percentage of cases you will lose the business completely – especially with those individuals who are uncomfortable with the bare honesty. However the majority will respect your candour and the relationship will be strengthened. If there is no trust then there is no long term relationship.
In working with new and existing businesses we strive to always be independant and impartial with our advice – our reputation is too important to us to compromise it with short term “quick fixes”.
In my experience however in working with government and major corporates they often want to hear platitudes which reinforce their held view rather than alternative solutions. As I have said before process is more important that outcome in many such cases. This is why we have seen the amazing growth in some firms who win major government contracts and then underperform – usually without sanction. A good example is with New Deal where recent research has indicated that it cost over £30,000 for every new job created. Compare this to NWES where for 10% of that amount we set up new businesses which are proven to be more sustainable than average and who also employ others. Are we asked to the top table to explain how we can do this? No. The truth is someties unpalatable and uncomfortable when it does not sit within preconceived viewpoints.
I live in hope that one day honesty and values are as highly prized as profit.