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Platinum rule of business

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At some point in your life, a parent or a teacher would have taught you the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you, or, treat people, whether in business or in your personal life, the way you wish to be treated.

However, the Golden Rule is no longer the recommended rule in business. To practice The Golden Rule implies that your expectations and those of your customers are the same. In fact, what that does is to project a set of expectations on the customers. However, we are advised to follow the Platinum Rule. With The Platinum Rule, instead of assuming that our personal needs best represent those of others, it considers the differences and complexities of people and promotes the philosophy that we should treat people the way they want to be treated.

In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie relates a story to illustrate the Platinum Rule: “Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So, when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: ‘Wouldn’t you like to have that?’”

Maybe you are wondering how it is possible to determine the individual needs of each customer. Dr Tony Alessandra in his book The Platinum Rule said, “You simply have to understand what drives people and recognize your options for dealing with them.” According to Dr. Alessandra, The Platinum Rule divides behavioural preferences into four basic styles: Director, Socializer, Relater; and Thinker.

In this week’s article, I will simply tell you what’s important to each and give you an idea of the proportion of the population that may fall into each of the four preference types:

∑ Director wants results and makes up about 3 percent of the population.

∑ Socializer wants recognition and makes up about 17 percent of the population.

∑ Relater wants relationships and makes up about 70 percent of the population.

∑ Thinker wants to be right and makes up about 10 percent of the population.

Next week I will examine the preference types closer and look at how knowing the preference of customers could lead to greater customer satisfaction.

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