Building Relationships, Adding Value Leads to Success

January 3, 2019 | Mike Ralston

Mike Ralston, President, ABI

Since this is the first column of the new year, please allow me to share some comments with you about a couple of things I have noticed in some other columns I've read. They touch on the core of what we do—or seek not to do—at ABI.

First, I have noticed a lot of columns that focus on increasing sales in the new year. Many of them discuss the need for a business to increase sales to increase profits. They focus on increasing "touches" and making sure customers know about all the wonderful products they absolutely NEED.

That strikes me as the wrong approach. At ABI, we constantly focus on serving as a resource, not on making a sale. Building a relationship and adding value based on the needs of the customer/member is what leads to success for both the member and ABI. No organization understands better than does ABI that sales, revenue and profits are integral to any successful operation. But done right, those things should be part of a value-added relationship, not simply a commercial exchange.

Which leads me to the second thing I have noticed about a lot of "new year" columns. Those that focus on the upcoming legislative session seem to mostly focus on what the General Assembly and state leaders must do for a particular organization. Just as is the case in sales, ABI seeks to build a relationship with state leaders. Our focus is on working TOGETHER. It is not simply about what state government can do for business; it is about what businesses in Iowa do every day for our state. The governor and lieutenant governor and many legislators of both parties are strong supporters of issues advanced by ABI. We are grateful for relationships which advance Iowa and advance ABI.

A final comment relates to something else I have noticed about successful business relationships...they extend beyond business. Those relationships focus on making a community better as well as the customer. In that regard, the ABI Foundation provides terrific programming that is important, not just to ABI, but to our state and its people as well.

ABI has about 1,500 role models in this relationship-building, by the way. ABI member companies are Iowa's best and most successful businesses. They have relationships with their customers and communities that focus on service and mutual benefit. All of us at ABI strive to emulate those types of relationships at ABI. Thank you to ABI members who make that possible.

Note: There is still time to register for the 2019 ABI Legislative Reception. Go do so now!