Do Buyers Owe Sellers Anything?


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How many times in your career have you heard, “Hey, we’re doing blah blah blah for customers. Can’t they cut us some slack? They can if they choose, but most customers choose not to show any consideration to sellers. After all, precious few sellers have shown any consideration for them.

So what’s all the babbling about buyer-seller “relationships?” How often do emotions overcome economics and convenience when buyers choose sellers? Rarely, I maintain. Steely-eyed customers evaluate every transaction, subconsciously at least, on all but the simplest exchanges of value. And no matter how many times a seller has done it right, supposedly building up a relationship, don’t screw it up this time seller or you’re toast.

Besides, customers don’t go out on dates. They’re too wary of seller motives.

So let’s pack up all the customer relationship fuzzies into a large trunk and sink it. The whole point for sellers today is doing everything right every time – and don’t depend on past performance to pull you through. Sellers need to keep their steely eyes on performance and be as intolerant of miscues as buyers are.

Any differing opinions?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Dick: what you’re implying is that customers have developed a zero-tolerance policy for vendor failures, or to use a softer word, shortcomings. If that’s the case, the trunk you described will be also be chock full of disappointment. Any close collaboration between vendor and customer contains bilateral give and take.

    “Sure our supplier put the product in the wrong packaging, but we placed our PO on short notice and the order was filled by their third shift and rushed out the door so they could get it to us. It’s OK. They’ve bailed us out in the past when production hasn’t planned correctly.” It happens all the time.

    In reality, the value of any good vendor-client relationship is revealed by how both parties handle each other’s mistakes. They occur every day, and no party is beyond saying mea culpa.


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