Fall 2017 From the Top - Trusted partners — looking beyond the metrics and data of performance

Trusted partners — looking beyond the metrics and data of performance

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by David Norris
Norris & Associates, Inc.
ERA President
dnorris@norrisrep.com

Though there are countless ways to measure our relationships, true, “trusted partnerships” exceed plan, so to speak, in a way that is not captured by numbers alone.


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“Trusted partner” is an often used phrase these days as all in our ecosystem strive to engage with those who will honor their relationships and serve them in a way that respects both parties and yields long-term, sustainable and mutual benefit.

Certainly there are metrics to help measure the success of our business relationships — performance to plan, size of funnel, wins ratio, velocity, year-over-year growth, percentage of focus product sales, etc., etc., etc. We live in a world of constant measurement, and the more data that can be generated, the more ways our performance can be sliced and diced.

Similarly, our business partners are subject to their own derivative of the numbers game. Those we serve measure our performance to plan or commitment as a way to quantify our performance.

Though there are countless ways to measure our relationships, true, “trusted partnerships” exceed plan, so to speak, in a way that is not captured by numbers alone.

Our association, ERA, now includes not only representatives and manufacturers, but our trusted distributor partners as well. We continue to grow the distribution membership as more distributors join our ranks to show support and respect for the representatives community.
Together with our principals and distribution partners, we work to grow our businesses together and meet the many challenges that face us all in today’s business dynamics.

On a recent trip to Old Head in County Cork, Ireland, I saw the ancient Stone of Accord. It sits by the first tee box at this magnificent golf course built atop the cliffs that spill out into the ocean in Southeast Ireland. Back in the day, before contracts, funnels, spreadsheets or even currency for that matter, agreements were consummated by a handshake executed through the hole in the center of the Stone of Accord by two parties standing on either side.

Contracts and measurements do serve to protect us all in our partnerships to be sure. If we were asked to sit down and make a list of our true “trusted partners,” however, my hunch is that we would look beyond most of the data and verbiage to a simpler, more visceral sense of who our real trusted partners are.

We are all lucky enough to have many in our business lives — those we would trust with a handshake through the Stone of Accord. Take some time to remind yourselves who they are and make sure, in the midst of all the world’s metrics, they know you value them as trusted partners!

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