When I was a child, television dramas could drag out a  story line for months. When our hero or heroine was double-crossed, it would take an entire season before the real culprit was caught; or you could wait multiple episodes before you saw the “perfect couple” actually fall in love. We were conditioned to be patient television viewers, and we would   continue to tune in no matter how long the writers made the story last.

But if you watch a TV show today, all that has changed. I’m not sure if it’s the number of distractions we have, or our short attention spans, but watch any TV program today, and whatever challenge is created in the first few moments of the show will be completely resolved by the end of the program. As viewers we want instant gratification.

Television producers know that in order to keep us interested, they have to keep things moving. We have become a society addicted to instant gratification.  We want to lose weight by Friday and get promoted to CEO in two years. We want our first job to come with a six-figure salary and our exercise routines to last ten minutes.  We want what we want when we want it, and for the most part that works. We can shop 24/7 at all-night grocery stores; we can click a button and make a reservation for a vacation or for dinner; and simply by making a phone call we can borrow money to buy a car or a house. We can pretty much get whatever we want, whenever we want it.

Everything, that is, except business growth. The one part of our society that has not bought into the instant gratification craze is sustainable business growth. Oh, we toyed with it for a while; for a few years it was pretty easy to make money, gain a new client and do it fast, but one big dip in the economy and the whole market shifted. Welcome to the Trust & Value Economy: a new economy where authenticity and strong values are what keep you in business, and plain ole hard work is what keeps your business growing. This is an economy where what you sell is a commodity, but how you sell it is your competitive advantage. Your success is based on your ability to go slow, be patient and invest in your clients. When it comes to growing your business, building your referrals and deepening your client relationships, in this economy, you have to do it the old fashioned way — you have to earn it!

Too often when I go to a networking event or have a salesperson call  me,  just as we are starting the relationship process, they blow it! Within twenty-four hours they are calling or emailing me, asking what I can do for them.  It makes me crazy. They were doing so well! I just want to grab them by the shirt collar and say, “No! Don’t you understand?  To succeed in this economy, your question should be, “How can I invest in you?”

Now, technically there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. It is the same approach their struggling competitors are using.  However, it is not an approach that works — not in this economy. By putting their desire for instant gratification first, they  have become a  business that is selling a commodity instead of one that is building trust and adding value.

To truly succeed in this economy, and to stand out from your competition , you have to realize there is no instant gratification! You have to be patient and you have to work hard. You have to understand that business growth is not a one-step process. You don’t meet someone and expect your next interaction to be an opportunity to make a sale and close the deal.

If you want to succeed in this economy, then understand: There in no instant gratification. Save that for your television watching. Be patient, go out of your way to invest in your clients, and you’ll set yourself up to win  in the Trust & Value Economy!