The Golden Rule

One of the things I have a big giant problem with in client-service businesses is ‘The Golden Rule. Not the one you learned in kindergarten, the stupid one that goes something like, “The one with all the gold makes all the rules.”

Of course, that’s utter bullshit.

In any economic transaction, the equation must balance. By definition, whatever someone is willing to pay for a good or service is its value. By trading the gold for the service, the one with the gold is admitting that their value is equal. That’s how it works.

So, why then do so many clients get away with acting like jerks to the service providers they hire?

Mostly because it’s a lot easier to find sellers than it is buyers.

Unless it’s not.

If you’re the type of business who has a lot more opportunities than capacity, then the script is flipped. You have the rarer form of value, and you get to set the rules.

After all, money is fungible.

Talent is not.

The key, it seems to me, is to setting up your relationship so that everyone thinks they are getting the same amount of ‘a good deal.’ Keep the equation in balance, but let everyone feel like it’s in their favor just a little. 😉

The Squeaky Wheel…

…gets the grease.

The problem with this is that many times in the client services game, the squeaky wheel isn’t a wheel that needs grease so much as it’s a wheel that feels that it deserves a ton of your attention, despite the fact that they’re paying you the same as every other wheel you work with.

Alright, even I’m confused now.

Here’s my point: Sometimes the best clients, who deserve the most attention, get less attention than the clients who are better at being squeaky.

That’s a shame. Try and fix that.