What do you bring to the party?
By Gary Reichert
My position presents several interesting and unique opportunities. One is definitely the ability to speak candidly with people in our industry. Over the last two decades, I have been fortunate to develop many relationships across our related construction industries. Being able to have open discussions with manufacturers and service providers across product groups and regions provides some unique insight, albeit anecdotal, into what is going on in our world, what the pain points are and what comes next. I firmly believe that this information is what allowed us to launch successful magazines during a patently strange series of global events.
The key to this and so much of business is relationship building and I am constantly amazed by the number of companies and individuals that seem oblivious to what it takes to build an enduring, positive relationship. We are changing vendors for some services and working with new sales people is an increasingly disappointing experience. Building relationships is the basis for human society and what would seem natural no longer even seems common.
The simple answer is something my Dad said: “Always bring more to the picnic than you plan to eat.” Relationships need to be equitable and two-sided. Everyone needs to ask themselves, “What do I bring to the party?”
We strive to do that with our publications and shows. The obvious example is what we offer exhibitors that other companies charge for. Attendee lists, scannable badges, unlimited guest passes to give to attendees, and free sponsorship opportunities. Yes, these could be charged for and have monetary value. But the relationship is worth more than a few dollars of incremental revenue from nickel-and-diming for every tiny thing.
Business associates and clients can become friends, but aren’t always. With uncertain times ahead, remember that relationships provide a huge value. The value may not appear as a line item on a balance sheet, but it 100% affects your bottom line. Besides, providing value to your friends, employees, customers, and world in general is simply the right thing to do.