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Want good treatment? Be a better customer

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in Small Business Tax

Want to be the sort of customer who gets priority treatment? Who regularly compels the barista to add more whipped cream to her mocha lattes?

Stick to these five behaviors that, in vendors’ eyes, make for a good customer, says Harvard Business School professor John Quelch:

1. Make it clear that you have other options and that you’ll seek out other bids. Ask for references and don’t be afraid to negotiate.

2. Treat the vendor like a professional. Respect him by being on time and asking his opinion. Don’t be haughty.

3. Do what you say you’ll do. Don’t keep the salesperson waiting if she’s come to your office for an appointment. And don’t ask for value-added services that weren’t part of the original deal.

4. Reward a job well done. Leave a tip, promise to refer the supplier to a friend or pay a little over the contract price if the vendor exceeded expectations.

5. Stand out by being nice. Smile. Engage the seller in friendly conversation. Treat her as a problem solver rather than an order taker.

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