Given all the talk these days about relationship marketing, B-to-B auctions, and eWebs of all sorts, one might get the impression business relationships are changing in a fundamental way. This view, however, is likely to be misguided. This is because it is based on the idea that the Internet will do away with all social aspects of business relationships.
One central idea throughout current discussions is the challenge of building close relationships with customers. While this is a reasonable goal, it begs the question as to whether all business customers want a close relationship.
Here we will try to examine the conditions under which a customer might want such a relationship. More importantly, a good understanding of this will help you to appreciate when the efforts of building a close relationship are not warranted (just think how much time you can save if you stop trying to build close relationships with a customesr who don't want one!).
DEPENDENCE IS THE KEY
Academics in marketing and sociology have, based on several years of close observation, pointed out the importance of "dependence" in understanding close relationships.
In short, business customers want a close relationship with a seller when they are buying something that makes them dependent on the seller. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense.