The Oldest Profession

May 23, 2011

A funny and insightful exchange is often attributed to Winston Churchill (speaking with a socialite at a party):

Churchill: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?”
Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…”
Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”
Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!”
Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.”

If one difference between an amateur and a professional is that a professional does it for money, for as much as each of us love our jobs, can’t we all admit that we are ‘professionals’?

Do we find it easier to smile for large or otherwise important clients?  Do we find working late hours to get a long time client’s work done by their tight deadline easier than for a brand new, smaller client?  So we’re willing to do it if we need to…

The next time a small or new customer asks for the moon and we think to ourselves “What kind of business do you think we run here?” Let’s instead remember that we’ve already established what kind of business each of us run – and that we’re now just negotiating at what price we’re willing to be excellent.

And since you can’t get a customer to be a big customer until they’ve been a happy first time or smaller customer – it seems clear we need to give everyone the 5 million pound service.