Transaction-based approach vs Relationship-based approach

In business school we were taught that there were two approaches to conducting business; one that focused primarily on making the most of the transaction each time, and one that focused on building a relationship geared towards increasing number of transactions.

We were told that, broadly speaking, the relationship-based model was favoured in the ‘Orient’ (an example being the Asian corner-shop who will often allow a payment shortfall in the knowledge that the customer will clear it the next time around), whereas the transaction-based approach was synonymous with a ‘Western’ approach to business, (imagine Tesco doing that!).

In reality, of course, mixtures of both should be and are used. But is the situation read correctly each time?

The smart negotiator is one who makes sure the other party has a reason to come back to the table the next time. This would encourage a relationship-based approach. Unless there is a certainty that the other party will/can not come back to the table again. In that case, negotiate for the best deal possible at the time.

Recognising this, is it in the best interests of both parties to pretend to be in for the relationship while hoping to conduct a single transaction?

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