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I have a sister in law that works as a manager for a company that supports data centers for large companies.  They have a client that likes to remind them that they, the client, are a prestigious customer and as such deserve to get special attention with no extra fees.

In my own particular history I’ve had a couple of customers that have also told me that they were prestigious customers and because of that I should forget about charges or clauses in contracts I normally put in.  Every time I allowed the supposed prestigious customer to get away with that line we ended up losing money and getting terribly taken advantage of.

I learned that being prestigious is often synonymous with you should lose money on my account.  When a company believes you can trade on their name they will often ask you to do things and not get paid for them.  You are “privileged” to be able to work for this customer and because of this you don’t deserve to make money with them.

Working with a prestigious customer is often more trouble than it’s worth.  The company and the people who work for these companies often believe they have the right to abuse those who do business with them.  They believe this because they think their name will bring you more business.  This may not be a universal rule, but it was certainly true every time we had a relationship with one of these types of companies.

I never got any business from working with a prestigious customer.  The line you will often hear from the so-called prestigious customer is that working with us will get you business.  Not help you get business, but absolutely will get you business.

My experience has been that I’ve never gotten one piece of business because we’ve worked with a prestigious customer.  Instead people I’ve worked with both in the vending business and wealth management business have only cared about what value I could bring to the relationship we were going to have.

Make sure you evaluate all customers only on what makes for a successful customer relationship.  I write about saying no a lot.  When considering working with a prestigious company make sure you ask yourself several times if this company fits in with what makes customers successful with you.  If you find the answer is this customer doesn’t fit you need to decline their business.

At the end of the day you must profitably serve your customers if you’re to help provide for the needs of the stakeholders of your company.  In some cases you might make money with a prestigious customer but the strain and wear on your employees won’t be worth the effort.

Don’t be forced into the situation my sister in law is in where she needs to not only do her job, but spend four or five hours a day doing extra work just to keep the prestigious company happy.  This is abusive to her as an employee and doesn’t leave time and capacity to service the great customer that might come along.

Speaking of myths in business, I’ve written a special report called the 7 Myths of the Private Business Owner.  You can click on the button below and download this complementary report or just learn more about what it contains.


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Topics: business coaching, Strategic Thought, Client Experience

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