One way to look at our modern service jobs is to think about being more transitional and less transactional. An example:
The mortgage broker is transactional. They enter when there’s a need, broker the deal, and then go off and search of the next one. The mortgage broker needs a big base of prospects to constantly draw new transactions from.
The bank itself is largely transitional. The checking and savings accounts are there before and after the mortgage is originated and closed. The closing check is deposited to one account and the next thirty years of payments come from another. The bank needs a customer base to continuously maintain through all of their transitions.
Transactional and transitional parties often work together, but it’s the ongoing transitional service jobs that are incentivized to uphold a higher relationship standard. Customers might rationalize the value of a commission for a one-off, but repeat costs like retainers or pledges of service need to be framed appropriately. Both types claim to put the client’s best interest first, but with transactions, it is implied, while with transitions it is inferred.
In reality, every job mixes the two. The differentiation boils down to the diversity of transactions and the time horizon of the relationship. For those of us who are in the business of making and maintaining long-term relationships, we need to be aware of the necessary transactions and keep showing up before, during, and after each milestone, keeping our clients aware of how we’re helping them to look out for them. When we’re doing it right, our clients will notice.