Intravenous Business Relationships
We all talk of having strategic relationships with our customers, but Seth Godin in his book "Permission Marketing" categorizes stages of loyalty or trust in a commercial relationship. The highest level is what he calls "Intravenous". This is the relationship you have with your doctor when you are in a life threatening situation. You put your trust into the doctors hands to save your life and you trust that he will charge you a fair price for his services. You trust that the doctor will do the absolute right thing. Many companies have intravenous relationships with a law firm or an accounting firm. They trust that the law firm or the accountants are working in their best interest and rarely question fees. This is the ultimate type of business relationship to have, but must be treated with the utmost respect. All profits derived from this relationship must be without any doubt "good profits". As soon as the customer believes that you are abusing the intravenous relationship and extracting value instead of adding value the relationship will end abruptly and the chance of resurrecting the relationship is slim.