On Saturday night, I watched the movie, "This is Spinal Tap," a 25-year old "mockumentary" about a fictional, dreadful heavy metal band named, as you might guess, Spinal Tap.

Long story short, the band has released a new album, they’re touring the US, and the tour isn’t going well. One day in Chicago, they’re set up at a record store to sign autographs and nobody shows up. The record company local promoter angrily asks the record store owner why no fans have come to the signing, saying, “I thought we had a relationship.” The store owner replies, “It’s nothing personal, business is bad, they’re just not coming,” to which the promoter loudly replies, “Forget personal. I THOUGHT we had a RELATIONSHIP.”

His thought begs the question, what did he mean by “…relationship?”  And, when we use the term regarding our clients or prospects, what do we mean?

Using the theory, we can’t nurture or increase the value of anything we can’t define, which of the following elements would your clients include in their defintion of ‘relationship’ with you?

  • I’ll take your call and speak pleasantly to you because I feel comfortable with you, personally.
  • I’ll call you first when I think of something I need.
  • I won’t feel bad about asking you for price concessions.
  • I am willing to forgive errors and mistakes up a a certain point.
  • You’re the most convenient supplier for these products so I’ll buy them from you, as  long as your price is pretty good.
  • I’ll commit that I’ll buy everything I need from you for a year.
  • I’ll introduce you to my colleagues.

There are many more possibilities.  Once you have committed your views and your client/prospects’ views to WRITING, rank them in terms of priorities to your clients/prospects  and to you. Then, ask, “What is the VALUE of each aspect of ‘relationship’ to them?  To me?

When you’ve answered the value question, you’re in a position to think about how you nurture and increase the value of and defend the elements that are most important to your client/prospects and those that are most important to you.

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