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You Can’t Make a Good Deal With a Bad Person

Warren Buffet is pretty skilled at making money. In fact, he’s the eighth richest person in America and the only one in the top ten who did not acquire his fortune by building a tech company. Of course, he’s been a billionaire for decades, but somehow, he’s also managed to build a reputation for being liked, respected, and trusted.

He’s famous for saying, “You can’t make a good deal with a bad person.” Buffet knows the importance of trust in business relationships. When one or both sides lack integrity, deals tend to go south. This holds true for everything from complicated real estate transactions to straightforward purchases of drywall. In any transaction, working with reliable, trustworthy companies is crucial.

At Metro, we built our business on reliability. Here are some lessons we’ve learned about being a good company that may help your firm navigate tricky waters in the future.

Follow the Golden Rule

Treat others as you want to be treated. Everyone from Founder Matt Sutherland to the Metro support staff is expected to follow the golden rule. It’s our guideline for every decision we make. We work hard to deliver materials as promised because we know late deliveries are bad for our clients’ businesses. We proactively suggest more economical material substitutions (that don’t compromise quality or performance), because that’s how we’d like sales teams to treat us.

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Provide Clear Expectations

Sometimes mistakes happen not because of bad or good, but because of confusion. At Metro, we know that providing more details clarifies expectations and that, in turn, builds trust. It’s wise to document and share the mutual goals and expectations at the beginning of a new business relationship.

Providing a list of specific deliverables also creates an easy-to-read roadmap for projects. For example, Metro details the order, the types of materials, the delivery time and date, and a list of obstacles or considerations in every order. If we need permission from the freight elevator operator, we’ll note it in the order. If the materials are required first thing in the morning, we’ll ensure the order is waiting when the crew arrives.

Keep Your Promises

Making a promise is a great way to create trust and build relationships. A promise is a way to fast-track credibility, but breaking promises destroys trust. At Metro, we don’t make promises we can’t keep. Orders are ready when designated. Deliveries are made on time. Materials are wrapped or protected as instructed.

Be Honest

There’s no upside to dishonesty. According to Caroline Sutherland, Contract Salesperson, leading a customer is a surefire way to destroy a deal. At Metro, we believe that telling the truth, even if it’s not what the customer wants to hear, is the only way to earn their trust.


Avoiding the truth to save short-term pain or embarrassment always ends up causing more damage. We work with highly ethical manufacturers and strive for complete honesty in every deal.

Create Relationships

Finding trustworthy partners isn’t easy. When you find a good firm, reward them with loyalty. Working with the same people over and over is a great way to build trust, set expectations, and understand what each business can or can’t offer. At Metro, we can sometimes reward loyalty with preferential treatment, better deals, or first right of refusal for new shipments.

Looking for a Partner With Integrity?

Competing for commercial construction jobs in the New York City area is tough, so you want to give yourself every advantage. Working with the good guys at Metro is the first step to getting a good deal.

We encourage you to try the five strategies listed in this article to help your firm rise above the rest. Please contact us if you want to learn why more and more contractors and developers in the NYC region choose Metro as their trusted building materials supplier.