The Golden Goose

One of Aesop’s Fables tells the story of a farmer who owned a goose that laid golden eggoosegs. The farmer surmises that there must be a large supply of gold inside the goose, so he kills the goose to capture all the gold at once. Once the goose is dead, it stops laying eggs completely and the farmer learns a difficult lesson—in his eagerness to get rich quick, he has destroyed his chance to get rich at any pace.

Your top customers are the business equivalent of the goose. If you neglect them, you might make the same mistake as the farmer. Unfortunately, most firms don’t realize when they’re neglecting their best customers. Here are some ways that you could be unwittingly killing your goose right now:

Assuming that the customer won’t leave because they keep buying from you. Your lower-level contacts may not know what’s going on at the top of their organizations. Your contact might say that everything is fine, but a competitor that delivers innovative ideas to his bosses can create a completely new vision without you.

Forgetting to do what’s best for your customer. Business models change, so it might not make sense for your customer to continue buying the same quantities of the same products. If you never discuss the alternatives because you’re afraid of losing a bigger order, a competitor that tells the whole story could make you look bad.

Keep those golden eggs coming by helping your customers grow and be profitable. Forgetting to do that is one of the best ways to kill your goose.

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