There are some things in business that no one really teaches you. It is the "instinctive" part of being a professional, and it mostly refers to little things. A powerful reminder of how important those little things are comes from the founder of the brand I work for, David Ogilvy, who said:
"I always use my clients' products. This is not toadyism but elementary good manners."
We all have a filter when it comes to biased reviews or people who we feel are simply being paid to flack for some product. The point most of us forget is that knowledge and proximity can easily translate into affinity. In other words, we often buy the brands we work with – not because we have to, but because we want to.
Of course, there are always examples like the loyal Coke drinker who is required to drink Pepsi because of where he works … but for every example of forced allegiance, there are dozens of others where the affinity is real and authentic. It should not be a foreign concept that people believe the best product on the market is the one they work for and the one that they know the most about.
The flip side of this is that negativity comes from personal experience as well. For example there are several brands that I had such a sour experience with while pitching for their business that I will never be a customer of their products or services. The point of all this is simple: your employees and the organizations your brand works with are potential advocates, or potential detractors.
So the next time you consider bringing on a new vendor or hiring a new employee – remember that how you treat them makes a difference. The little things (like good manners) still matter … as they always have.