Clients and Providers: Natural Enemies?

To be clear, my position is strictly that clients and providers have a naturally positive relationship.

But I was recently at the mechanic, and when he found nothing wrong with my car, he said something that gave me pause.

“I didn’t find anything wrong. Bad for me, but it’s good for you!”

Of course, this was just a lighthearted joke, but it did make me think. After all, the more money I lose in this transaction, the more money he makes. Yet in reality, this is not a zero-sum game.

Unless the mechanic simply rips me off and charges me for things that aren’t necessary (and honestly, I wouldn’t know), the fact is that he doesn’t gain money by my loss. Instead, he gains money when I gain value, specifically the value of having a car that works properly.

If there is more to be fixed, he’ll get more money, and my car will go from being dangerous to safe. At the same time, knowing he hasn’t invented problems will make me revisit him. I don’t know about you, but I prefer long-term business to short-term profits.

There’s a similar transaction between marketing consultants and their clients.

On the surface, it seems like we want to manufacture needs. Things like online advertising campaigns seem necessary, but what about good copy on the “About Us” page?

Again, there’s a caveat: some people will try to rip you off. But if you’re working with an honest consultant, you won’t get recommendations for unnecessary work. Instead, he or she will find the weak spots in your marketing strategy and add value in exchange for money.

It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s a win-win.