Incentives, Incentives, Incentives

Our 5 year lease on our company office suite is expiring. We’re currently deciding between moving to a new building which includes a build-out to our specifications or staying in our existing suite. When I asked our current landlord about what sort of amenities (our carpet and paint are wearing) they might provide in exchange for a lease renewal, she politely informed me that they only provide lease incentives for new tenants, not existing ones. I scratched my head and asked her if we (a low-maintenance tenant that always pays its rent on time) would be eligible for incentives if we moved out first and moved back in the next day.
The question was rhetorical (and more than a bit sarcastic), but it reminded me of a few business truths that I have come to believe:
1. Your current customers are usually more valuable than your future ones. Too often in business the emphasis is placed on the latter instead of the former. (Did I mention that our current building is approximately 30% vacant already?)
2. All things being equal, people (consumers, businesses, etc.) will usually act in their own best interests. Our job as providers of value is to provide more than the next guy for a fair price.
3. An extension of #2, if I want a person or customer to behave a particular way, I usually have to give him/her a reason to do it. I’m always amazed that Dell sends me customer surveys to fill out that they say will consume 25 minutes of my time with nothing (except, presumably, more selling opportunties for them) in return. I wonder what their response rate is!
I’m not sure where we’ll renew our lease or move, but I’m hoping that our current landlord will at least see it our way!