February '20

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84 • RV PRO • February 2020 rv-pro.com RV I N S I G H T Pick Your Partners Well Good relationships give business leaders access to resources they don't otherwise have. In business, following the people who are winners gives an assurance of future successes. By Chuck Marzahn Chuck Marzahn is a partner with Marzahn & King Consulting, a well-known consulting and training firm specializing in the RV industry based in Virginia Beach, Va. He can be reached for comment and questions at Chuck@ MarzahnAndKing.com. I t was one of the most poignant moments of my life. The day before he died, I held Bill Gor- man's hand as he expressed concern over a business relationship that troubled him. It was heart-wrenching. My mentor and friend was literally on his deathbed. Bill died from mesothelioma and was so short of breath he was barely able to push the words from his lips. Yet his pressing concern was over a business relationship that had not ended well. Relationships. We take them so casually today. How many "friends" do you have on Facebook? Your business relationships should be deeply considered and certainly not treated casually or taken for granted. A lukewarm rela- tionship is of little value. A poor relationship ends in pain. A good relationship is a con- tinuing source of desired outcomes. That brings us to examine the relationships we have in business. Several forms of relation- ships are quickly apparent. We see the relation- ship between the dealer and the manufacturer. There is the relationship shared by dealers and customers. Also, there is a relationship between employees. All are critically important. All Relationships Start with People It's now been close to 40 years ago when customer Hy Blumenthal said to me, "People do business with people, Chuck. Not with companies. I chose to do business with this company because of my relationship with and trust in you!" I still vividly recall that conversation. It had a huge impact on my business life. The point about trust is important. We'll look a bit deeper at that in a bit. Russ Patton, a dealer in St. Louis, is quoted as having said, "Follow the people – not the product." Imagine the path you would be on if you followed Don Clark and the Fenech brothers on the lines of successful brands they've led. Where would you be if you followed Pete Liegl? Claire Skinner? What about some others? The point should be clear: Following the people who are winners gives an assurance of

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