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Don’t Let the Tail Wag the Dog

If I had to narrow down one saying in the world of business that drives me crazy, it would be “Don’t let the tail wag the dog.”

In the world of business, the thought that one party is the dog and the other party is the tail is simply not true — erase that thought from your mind! Working as an outside sales representative in the building products distribution industry for many years, I know that a true relationship with your dealer partner is a purely symbiotic relationship, and you can’t have one without the other. A dealer can’t sell to their retail customer if the distributor can’t supply, and the supplier can’t survive without dealers buying from them. Both the dealer and supplier are equal partners in creating revenues for their companies.

If you look at it the way we do, you strive to build business relationships. If you forget about the “Tail wagging the dog,” mindset, you may even be lucky enough to build business friendships with your dealer partners —relationships based on the reality that you can’t have one without the other. If you just can’t shake the thought that someone has to be the dog and the other the tail, then just remember: the only person that could be the dog is the end user, the retail customer, and those of us in the supply chain are the tail. We definitely want to keep the end user happy, or we all know where the tail goes!