What’s Best For Your Customers Is… (Business Building Advice From Derek Sivers)

I’ve been arguing with a vendor over a nickel-and-diming type fee that they think we should just pass on to the end customers. 

They’re not (completely) wrong. They have an understandable logic behind their decision and I can see why they’re pushing for it. Hrumph. Adult real worldy stuff, blah blah blah. 

But I also see how they’re looking past me, as their customer, and focusing on what they’ve decided is in their best interest. The problem in this instance is – I’m not the end of the line. I’m their customer, but my customer is the reason I’m here and able to pay them as my vendor in the first place!(?!)

When I find myself in one of these pretzels and need a dose of clarity, all I have to do is re-read this Derek Sivers quote from his brilliant (and short) book, Anything You Want: 

Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make every decision – even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone – according to what’s best for your customers.

If you’re ever unsure what to prioritize, just ask your customers the open-ended question, “How can I best help you now?” Then focus on satisfying those requests…

It’s counterintuitive, but the way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone.

My vendor isn’t asking themselves this question. 

“How can I best help you now?”

Good thing there’s more than one vendor for these services. We’ll see how this one plays out. Repeat the mantra business-readers – how can I best help you now?  

Open question out of curiosity: how do you think about this for your customers? If your customer isn’t the ultimate end customer, do you reframe the question in your mind? Is there any clear reason why not to operate this way?