You don’t have to make people lose to win. In fact, it is usually a bad long-term strategy.
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.“ ~ Zig Ziglar
If you have been watching Donald Trump in the news lately, you are probably quite aware that he embraces an overt and aggressive bullying technique when dealing with any opposition.
Most recently, this included attacking the credibility of a disabled New York Times reporter who had contradicted Mr. Trump about his claim of seeing thousands of Muslims “over in Jersey” celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. The verbal attack on the reporter was captured on video with Trump emulating a physical handicap similar to the reporter’s while also implying that the reporter couldn’t remember the facts correctly because the disability affected his mind.
You may interpret that video differently, but you really can’t deny that Mr. Trump goes for the jugular in these situations. Nothing is off-limits in his effort to discredit or remove opposition. They are losers, and he is the winner. There is no middle ground.
But this post is not about Donald Trump or even politics.
It is about you as a business owner, entrepreneur, leader or aspiring leader.
The Dangerous Disconnect
There is a huge disconnect between what you see today in the news, and what made the Trump brand worth billions in the past. The danger is if you see what is happening today and emulate that behavior rather than the true path to success.
Can you imagine staying at a high-end Trump property and losing your room key or finding some flaw in your room? You go to the front desk for assistance and instead the person questions your appearance, gender, race, and memory and then calls you a loser for daring to complain.
Would you stay there? Is it okay to treat certain groups of people like that? If they treated everyone like that would they have any customers? What would you think of a business brand that did that?
They would no longer be in business.
The reality is that in a true free-market, businesses have to consistently and reliably deliver value to their customers and clients, or those clients and customers will go elsewhere. It turns out there are some pretty universal rules that businesses must follow to succeed.
In the “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann, the First Law Of Stratospheric Success states:
“Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
If people receive more in value than you take in payment, then they feel like they have won. They are likely to buy from you over and over. If you provide exceptional value or experience, they are likely to recommend you to others and become your raving fans.
If they perceive you ripped them off, they will also tell everyone.
Make sure your clients win every time.
Don’t Make the Client Lose
In “Magnetic: The Art of Attracting Business”, Joe Calloway talks about creating win-win deals as the only way to do business:
“In the real world, very rarely does it make sense for you to make someone else lose. In fact, when you create losers, it almost always ends up working against you.”
There are two concerns people typically have at this point in the discussion:
- If I give away too much value, won’t I lose money?
- Don’t nice people get walked all over?
Too Much Value
If you are in business or sales, it is up to you to make sure you never enter into a deal where you would lose. Losing could mean doing work you hate, doing work that goes against your values or it could mean losing money on a deal.
You can’t give too much value. You can only set the price too low or fail to manage your costs.
While nice is not mandatory for business success, it is a less stressful way to live and do business. Nice does not mean you allow people to walk all over you. It means you treat everyone with respect even if you disagree with them.
While you need to be aware of the competition, the best strategy is to focus on maximizing value for your clients first and foremost. Bashing or copying the competition rarely works. Your biggest and most important impact is with your clients because what they say about you leads to future clients.
If you want great relationships with your clients, you should start by creating and maintaining great relationships with your employees, suppliers, and vendors. They are an important part of the value chain.
If you are on a team or leading a team that doesn’t directly work with clients, then start treating your internal stakeholders as clients. Create wins for them.
The Secret – You Win As Well
So the real secret is to focus on helping your prospects and clients win. If you can do that consistently, then ensuring you also win becomes significantly easier.
My guess is that the Trump enterprises that generated billions have embraced a lot of this over the years. The rules of successful business say it must be so.
Over the short-term, we probably can’t do much about how politics is played or how other people behave.
We can do a lot about how we play our roles as leaders and business owners. We can focus on creating value. We can create many more cases of creating win-win situations. We can expect it of others.
Ensuring your clients win seems like a better path to your long-term success to me.