He was a Belgian businessman. He was a shareholder in one of the companies visiting our client for a partnership. We finished our negotiation discussions for that day and went to a restaurant, situated on a hill. We stood on the meadow next to the restaurant and started to look at the sea view in front of us.
He said, “I feel as if I have known you for years although today is the first day that we have been really together.” The previous night we had met him shortly at his hotel to welcome him. He smiled and added, “Is this magnificent view influencing me in such a way or did you do something today which I am not aware of?”
I told him that I was glad of his finding the view appealing since I also thought the view to be very beautiful. Then I said that we had treated him in the same way that we treat each potential acquirer of our clients. To clarify, I then described the behaviour of the managers of a company who were visiting one of our clients. We had brought them to this same restaurant. They hadn’t been interested in the view at all. During the whole meal they talked with each other in a language, which none of us could speak or understand. At the end of the meal, our client told me that it was not possible to go into a partnership with these people.
When companies establish a partnership, in reality people form this partnership. If you understand each other during the day long negotiations and find out that both sides share a lot of similar values both as a businessman and as a human being, then it is logical to feel as if you have known that businessman for a long time. When you feel this intimacy, then that sea view of the restaurant would show itself in the most impressive way to you. We might have gone to a restaurant without a sea view that day, but I feel that the Belgian businessman would still express the same sentiments. I think that we view our surroundings in a positive way only if we feel good within ourselves.
A quotation by Richard Wagner that I came upon the other day might be fitting: “Joy is not in things; it is in us.”…