Have a Love Affair with Your Customer!!

Many years ago when I was just getting started in my sales career, I had a client (Jim) say the following to me: “Our business relationship will be very much like a dating relationship”. I’m sure I had a puzzled look on my face so he continued, “In this relationship, you will play the role of the man, and I will play the role of the woman.”

At this point, I was more than a bit puzzled – I was starting to sweat uncomfortably and had an overwhelming desire to break and run. What did he mean by “play the role of the man”? Instead of breaking and running, I asked him to continue. He could see the look of concern (more like sheer terror) on my face and laughed and said, “It’s quite simple really – I want what I want, when I want it, and just remember – I’m always right!”

Overcome with relief that he wasn’t part of some weird sex cult and coming on to me, I muttered something like, “Sure, I can play by those rules”. He turned out to be a very demanding yet very loyal client. Over the course of a couple of years I sold him over $45 Million in products and services.

One of the key takeaways I learned from that experience is that it is imperative to have a “Love Affair With Your Customer”. No, not in the kinky degrading sort of way, but in a way that is authentic and truly has your customer’s best interest at heart.

You see, what Jim was really telling me all those years ago is that he wanted to do business with someone that:

1) He Trusted.  Without trust, your customers will never “love” you. Trust is the bedrock of any healthy relationship – business or otherwise.
2) Listened to Him.  At the end of the day, your customer is a person and wants to be treated like a person. This includes listening to their issues. As Stephen Covey would say, “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” So often, we want to tell our prospective customer all of the wonderful things our product or service will do for them without truly understanding their needs.
3) Met His Needs.  Only after you have built trust and listened to their needs will you be ready to proceed to step 3 which is meeting those needs.

Here’s the beautiful part of this equation and where it truly gets exciting. If you perform the following 3 steps better than anyone in your particular market place, your customers will indeed develop a lasting love relationship with you that will stand the test of time.

As a matter of fact, the bond will be so strong that it will defy all logic and reason. Your competitor can lower their price by 20% and your customer will not “cheat” on you by switching to your competitor. That’s the power of love. Are these steps easy? Not always. Are they worth it? Every time! Now quit reading and go find a customer to have a love affair with!


“Sticks and Stones” is a Big Fat Lie!


“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Was this loving little rhyme shared with you by your parents or another authority figure when you were a child?  Yeah?  Me too.  But over time, I’ve learned that it’s simply not true.  Words hurt.  A lot.

Words Matter

If you look back over world history – or even the history of your own life, almost all heartache, pain, strife, wars, etc. were first started with…Words!  Likewise, as you reflect on your past, I bet there are many memories you can recall where others spoke positive words into your life.  It’s easy to see that words have a profound effect on our lives.  These words eventually led to outcomes in your life that were either positive (good feelings) or negative (hurt feelings).

You have the power to speak life into those that are around you, but you also have the power to speak death and destruction into them.  Scripture says that while the “tongue is a small part of the body” (James 3:5), it “has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21).  That’s incredible if you think about it.  One of the smallest parts of our body has this massive power to bring either love, healing, and affirmation or hatred, poison, and death.  The choice is up to us…and it has major consequences.

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

-Proverbs 12:18

One of Many Times I’ve Blown It…

Recently, I was having a really bad day.  And at the end of this long disastrous day, my teenage daughter made a request of me that just didn’t sit right – it hit a nerve.  It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and sadly I unleashed my entire days’ worth of hurt and frustration on her.  I could quickly see that I crushed her spirit, which was certainly not my intention.  After taking some time to cool off, I asked her if she would ride with me to grab a coffee so that we could talk and clear the air.  I humbled myself and apologized to her.  And while she did extend her forgiveness and we made things right between us, I know there are still consequences.  I spoke words that can never be “unspoken” and sadly she heard words that will most likely never be “unheard”.  Words matter.  A lot.

Choose to Bring Life!

So the question begs, how can we use our words to bring life and not death?  I wish I could give you a magical formula, but I can’t.  Have you ever noticed how the so-called magical formulas never work anyway?  But what I can offer, are some truths I’ve gained through my own struggles of taming the tongue as well as those of others.

  • Daily Self Awareness: Take time to check in with yourself throughout the day.  This one takes some discipline on your part.  It’s okay to feel the emotions of anger and hurt, but realize when you are in this state and choose your words and conversations very carefully.  Had I done this with my daughter, I might have avoided the pain I caused her.
  • Guard Your Heart: Scripture tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).  This means that all of the words flowing out of your mouth – both beautiful and ugly – are based on the condition of your heart.
  • Choose Love: Love truly does conquer all. Often times those we hurt the most are also those we love the most.  In anger, it’s easy to lash out against our spouse and attack their weak spots.  The same holds true with relationships with our friends, family, work, and even compete strangers.  Choosing love over hate is often difficult, but it produces beautiful consequences in both the giver and receiver.
  • Surround Yourself with Loving People: As much as possible, fill your life with loving people that truly have your best interest at heart.  We all know people that suck the air right out of the room when they enter due to their negativity.  If it’s possible, avoid toxic people.  And if it’s not possible, refer to number 3 above.  J
  • Admit When You Have Blown It: We are human and at times our emotions will get the best of us regardless of how hard we try for that not to happen.  So when you blow it, admit it and seek forgiveness.  Speaking words of humility can go a long way to restoring a relationship and easing the pain.

So while sticks and stones may break our bones, words also have the ability to both break the bones and crush the spirit.  Because words matter.  A lot.