Quick question: Are you a client for any of your clients?
The business version of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” is a great thing. Just last week, we saw an example of why built-in benefits should inspire us to create reciprocal business relationships.
Brian Hanley, an award winning leader at Aflac, has been an FMYI client for almost eight years. After Brian started using FMYI as his “filing cabinet in the sky,” he shared with me what his company provides. Before his presentation, I admit that I had no idea what Aflac’s supplemental benefits do (I thought, I already have health insurance so I didn’t need it), but when I learned Aflac puts cash in the pockets of its customers when they get sick or hurt and that they can use that money for anything; including expenses that insurance doesn’t cover, I wanted to learn more. I also started to see the value that reciprocating business with Brian could bring to FMYI. After listening to what Brian had to say, FMYI started to offer Aflac policies to employees and as one of the first to sign up, my family has benefited massively.
Beyond the personal benefits of becoming an Aflac customer, I also learned a lot more about his business, which has given me insight into ways that I can improve the solution I provide him. I learned Aflac terminology and workflow from being his client, and can apply it to the advice I give Brian and his team as well as other clients using FMYI. In the end, it has made me a better vendor, which I believe increases the chances of keeping him as a client for the long-term.
By supporting Brian’s business, I was able to leave him in a better position to repurchase my system, while also increasing my connection to him. Brian may have recommended me to his colleagues regardless of our reciprocal business arrangement, but being his client is certainly helpful when he shares what works for him. Likewise, I am now far more familiar with what Brian offers and referring each other business opportunities is second nature.
I realize that there are going to be many times where reciprocally supporting a client’s business is not a good fit or may not be warranted. However, when it makes sense, as in the case of Aflac and FMYI, reciprocate business and you’ll improve your understanding of your client’s needs, increases commitment with your client, demonstrates trust, improve recommendations in both directions and ultimately help turn a business relationship into something of a partnership. In other words, if the shoe fits, just do it! It can be a win-win!