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In Search of Long-Term Relationships

February 14, 2011
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Barb Checket-Hanks

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers! This is a highly suitable time to think about relationships of all sorts, business as well as personal. The ones that work have a lot in common with each other - like trust and honesty.

As we at The NEWS continue the celebration of our 85th anniversary, we want to find the long-term relationships among our subscribers. First, we sought out the reader with the oldest issue. Now we are looking for the longest-subscribing reader.

We are blessed with readers who range from those who have just discovered us on the Internet and read us on a mobile device, to those who have been reading the hard print version since the early days. For our newest readers, we accept the challenge of keeping The NEWS fresh and relevant to both your business, and to your most practical means of receiving the information.

For our long-term subscribers, we want to know who you are, and where you are. The “oldest subscriber” does not just count the years a subscriber has lived on the planet; if that were the case, someone could buy a subscription for their grandfather and enter their name in the contest. No, we are looking for the person with the oldest active subscription to The NEWS. When we find that person, we will share some good times together!

Our relationship with you is not just about us putting out a publication every week, and updating a website more often than that. Our commitment to our readers is, like all relationships, a two-way street. We are a mirror of this industry, as well as an interpreter of its events.

VALUE RELATIONSHIPS

Wedding anniversaries eventually end with the end of their relationship, natural or otherwise; something will put the “partnership” out of business. Business anniversaries, on the other hand, can go on over several generations.

These relationships last if benefits continue on both sides of the relationship. Are both parties keeping up with each other’s needs? Does anything need to be changed? In short, is there value in the relationship?

This year we have heard of several businesses in the HVACR industry celebrating milestone anniversaries. We salute them, because we know what it means to be able to keep long-term relationships going. It takes more than opening up the business’s doors five days a week; it means that one party thinks about the other’s needs and how best to meet them. This, in turn, prevents neglect from setting in. And neglect is like rust; if it isn’t stopped, it eats things up.

We had the opportunity to meet some of these companies at the recent AHR Expo in Las Vegas. None of them were sitting on the same product they started out with. In fact, most had made significant product advancements over the last year. The market may have been slower, but the research and development departments were certainly not. These long-term survivors know that when you get some down time in one area, you can spend that time making improvements based on customers’ needs. They pursued ideas that would add value to their customers. They invested in the relationship.

Of course, several younger companies followed this same course of action. We like to think it bodes well for their long-term survival, though admittedly, many other variables can affect that.

Our relationship to our readers stretches back to 1926. If you think you know someone who has been with us longer than anyone else, please urge them to enter this contest! We would like to celebrate and reminisce with them. See the entry information below.

For everyone else - happy Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget the special people in every aspect of your lives.

Do you know a potential longest NEWS subscriber? Please send their name and subscriber label info to barbarachecket-hanks@achrnews.com. Good luck!

Publication date: 02/14/2011
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