Is a perfect We relationship attainable with a customer?

It really doesn’t matter. Imagining a perfect We relationship is what matters. That vision will guide you to create the relationship that is the best relationship possible with this customer.

This is a lesson that is not new. Plato, more that 2300 years ago, pointed out that everything in the real world is imperfect, but that we can understand the essence of things by comparing them to an absolute “form” which we have never actually seen. Have you ever seen perfect blue? Witnessed perfect justice? Heard perfect truth? Plato would say that you haven’t, that every thing you see in the world is only a shadow of a perfect form. But, through inherent knowledge of that perfect form we understand the things that we experience in real life. (How we get that knowledge is another story – see Plato’s Theory of Recollection if you are interested)

Similarly, it may be impossible, with a given customer, to create a perfect We relationship. But, by imagining a perfect relationship, as if it were a Platonic form, you have something to aim for. That fact that you will never attain perfection is beside the point. Aim high, and the relationship will be as strong as possible.

Like many things, a relationship is not an on/off switch. A relationship is more like a dimmer switch. Imagine total illumination, and turn up the brightness.


  • Greg
    Aug 03, 2008 - 23:45 pm


    We have a long way to go in creating “WE” relationships with our customers. Sales culture is wrought with acrimonious relationships with prospects/customers. You woudn’t believe some of the things said around the quarterly business review conference table. You would think our prospects/customers are our arch enemies.

    I’m going to pick up your book because you may have some ideas here. All I can say is that there needs to be a cultural revolution within sales in order to create any sort of harmonious reltionship with clients. Right now, at least in the enterprise software world, it just ain’t happening. Sales will go kicking and screaming into the new world.

    If sales cannot create a foundation for this type of “we” relationship then you’ve lost before you get started.


    • Steve Yastrow
      Aug 04, 2008 - 15:37 pm


      I totally agree with you … sometimes you’d think customers are the enemy the way people talk! (Hey, that’s why we “target” them) When you pick up We, you’ll find more on this subject. See pages 78 – 79, especially.

      • Greg
        Aug 06, 2008 - 11:51 am

        I hadn’t thought about “target”. That is a good one.

        How ’bout “pitching” to them. We are the pitchers and they are the batters and we are attempting to send them back to the dugout with nothing for their effort.

        Or, “closing”… we want to close the deal but the customer hasn’t even begun to see value. No wonder there is resistants. Check out my blog on this issue at

  • Nathan Rice
    Aug 04, 2008 - 13:08 pm

    You are right on with this one – striving to excellent results puts us on the path to creating wonderful experiences. While perfection might not be expected in all cases consumers expect excellence.

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