When Harry Met Sally and the art of business success

And you thought the film just taught people about romance. How a movie can be its own mini-M.B.A., asks Jane Parker.

When Harry Met Sally

There is a Sally inside of every customer

Harry: There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.
Sally: Which one am I?
Harry: You’re the worst kind. You’re high maintenance, but you think you’re low maintenance.
Sally: I don’t see that.
Harry: You don’t see that? “Waiter, I’ll begin with a house salad, but I don’t want the regular dressing. I’ll have the balsamic vinegar and oil, but on the side. And then the salmon with the mustard sauce, but I want the mustard sauce on the side.” “On the side” is a very big thing for you.
Sally: Well, I just want it the way I want it.
Harry: I know: high maintenance.

Most customers are just like Sally; they are high maintenance but think they are low maintenance. Being successful in business requires entrepreneurs to find the joy in connecting to the Sallys of the world, just like Harry ultimately did. You have to expect your customers will “want it the way they want it,” ask for more and more things “on the side,” and reject one-size-fits-all approaches to marketing and product design. Serving up uniform offerings is the same thing as having a one-sided conversation in which you don’t listen to what the other person is saying. If you are lucky enough to have customers like Sally who can clearly articulate what they want, give them what they want and then some. For example, at Julep, we have always enabled our Mavens to swap their monthly boxes into another “style profile,” and to add products onto their boxes. We are now taking the next logical step of enabling true customization of our monthly subscription box. We want Sally to have exactly what she wants, and not have to pay for anything she doesn’t.

Here’s more on how Harry Met Sally can teach you a thing or two about making your business a success

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