Fast is not a word that applies to me often – unless food is involved. Once, I saw a pair of pants I really liked at Target but decided to think about it for a day or two before buying them. I went back two months later, having decided it would be okay spend the $20, but they had been moved to the clearance rack and I got them half price.
It’s not just decisions about things; I’m also slow to decide about people. It took close to a year for me to decide I liked my best friend (it took her equally as long to decide she liked me). Despite – or more likely because of – the fact it takes me so long to decide about people, my relationships last for a long time.
When someone describes you as quick witted, it’s a compliment. We applaud bosses who make quick decisions. Most of us would like our doctors to explain test results immediately. Generally, as a society, we like things to be fast.
Today I’m taking a stand in favor of slow. It may run counter to popular wisdom, but being slow in business can be good. Getting know people takes a long time. Establishing trust, building relationships, learning about a person’s style can all take years.
But once you have a solid relationship with a customer or client, they will stick with you forever and probably tell their friends about how much they like you.
The power of slow is that you have time to create something – either literally or figuratively – solid. You have the opportunity to show your customers time after time that you stand by your product. It may only take a single act to win someone over, but how much more powerful are 10 acts?
There is no doubt about the difference between a table constructed of chip board and glue in a couple of hours and one built of solid wood, carefully joined and sanded. Business relationships are the same. You can patch things together haphazardly, and make sure it looks good on the outside or you can handcraft a solution to your customer’s problem.