The role of marketing is to influence the exchange of outcomes between two parties. This exchange normally involves one party parting with money, but not always. The role of personal selling, as one of the 4 main elements of the promotional mix, is to close the outcome in favour of the selling organisation – closing the deal.

The natural inclination of the sales organisation is to get the best possible deal, to extract as much out of the sale as possible. The phrase ‘don’t leave any money on the table’ is the mantra of the sales-maximising organisation. Taken too far, this short term mentality, that of treating the customer as someone you can shaft because they’re never likely to buy from you again, has been around as long the sales profession itself. It is flawed, and if you believe in karma, you’ll know that in some form it will come back to bite you.

A successful deal is all about a fair exchange. The deal has to feel right for both parties. If it doesn’t, one party will renege on the deal and it won’t stay on the books. Alternatively, if they can’t pull out because of contractual reasons, they will sour the relationship, if it isn’t sour already. They won’t be a repeat customer and they’ll also tell 3 times as many people about their experiences as they would if the deal was a fair one.

A fair exchange is a long term deal, a partnership, where both companies address their business problems and profit.

No-one said life was fair, but if you want to win in the long run, you can make it fair.