Gaming the system has always been a temptation for businesses, but customers have learned to adapt to whatever you are doing far more quickly than you would think. Here is a classic example: the infamous sale. A sale has become so ubiquitous that people will not buy a product until it is on sale. In a sense, businesses have taught customers to distrust pricing. Is that a good thing?

No! This is not a good thing! There are many other situations where the fine print is used to disappoint people. This may save the numbers for your company for the current reporting period, but once again you have taught someone to distrust you and have lost their future business. There is a similar idea of accounting games to make a month or even a quarter look good, but almost all of the tricks will be caught quickly and then the real problems begin. Now you are under increased scrutiny, which even if there is nothing to hide, takes extra time and effort.

A good way to think about all of your future moves is the almost cliché “win-win situation”. Are you creating a scenario that is good for your bottom line but does not mislead your customer base? If you do not play smart and anyone loses, the business will eventually be the one to lose in the long-run. Do not allow cleverness or the allure of short cuts to lead you to break the trust created in a buyer-seller relationship because the buyer will hold on to that grudge longer than the business has to fix it.