In 20 years of assessing buyer-supplier business relationships, one of the constant themes we have seen is how often relationships suffer from the perception-reality gap. The implications of this can be commercially catastrophic if you are a service provider who thinks a client relationship is in fine fettle only to discover that the client is flirting with a competitor because expectations are not being met in terms of performance or relationship strength.
And because this dissatisfaction is not always clearly apparent, the danger is that if and when such is discovered by the service provider it is often too late to fix the issues in play as the dye is cast.

As in many walks of life, assumption can be the mother of all… let’s just say… mistakes!

The answer to this, of course, is to ensure that as much as possible you know that perception does equal reality. And the best way to do this is simply to regularly check out the health of the relationship. The analogy here is for those of us who diligently brush their teeth and yet still manage to get a toothache or other dental problems because they/we don’t go the dentist regularly enough to get a proper checkup from someone who knows what to really look for.

It’s often said that prevention is better than cure and this is equally valid for maintaining healthy tier one commercial relationships. And in our experience undertaking such an exercise in the right way has other benefits over and above providing reassurance on the solidity of the relationship; such as the kudos for the supplier in being seen to invest in the relationship by using a third-party specialist; or the identification of previously unknown revenue-generating opportunities, or simply that instincts/suspicions have been confirmed.

Our clients tell us that the proprietary tools and processes we use to generate actionable intelligence on their high-value strategic relationships deliver what we promise, namely a clear view of the risks and opportunities associated with the relationship. And they also say that their investment is paid back many times over having worked with us. Don’t just take our word for it. Examples of the kind of results we can deliver are to be found in our client testimonials throughout our website.

If you have strategic client/customer or supplier relationships that you want to protect and develop the first step is to seek out the perception-reality gap. Relationship Audits can help you do that effectively and efficiently. Call us or email us to see how.