I have a friend who runs a security company. At one point he'd been trying to work with a web developer to redesign his site. The crazy part of the story he shared with me was that he'd been waiting to hear from this developer for over 3 months. And the whole project had run for over 6 months. And cost over $5,000 for a really simple design. But now he wanted to change some text, and he was stuck waiting….
I have a friend who runs a software company. After a year or two of running their company, they wanted to upgrade their blog so that they could have a place to keep content fresh. They get tens of thousands of visitors every month, and they wanted something that looked good and fit with their brand – but also something they could manage themselves.
I have a friend who runs a massage therapy company. When we first started talking, she was working for someone else. But today she runs her own shop, has her own storefront, and is happily living the dream she's always had. She is leveraging her web site for leads and to deliver coupons to clients. And she's excited about leveraging facebook.
I have a friend who runs a mobile software company. They wanted to build a huge system but the price tag for such development always seemed out of their reach. Today, they're using the system built for them, which runs on WordPress, and they're changing the non-profit scene with their mobile apps.
I don't have customers…
I have friends.
When I think of a customer, I think of a transaction. I think about what I have to “do” and how much I'm going to “get.” That's what I'm listening for. But when I think of a friend, I listen differently. I want to hear what they're thinking, but the whole time I'm also asking if there's anything I can do (in my head) and as I come up with stuff, I offer to help.
I interact with friends differently – I answer their calls. I enjoy talking with them. I ask them questions and I truly care, as they share.
My friends interact with me differently too – They pay their bills. They refer me to their friends. And they understand when emergencies come up.
I'm as “business” as the next guy, but sometimes our approach gets in the way of our goals. I'm not saying that you should forgo contracts. I'm saying you should develop the relationship so that when it comes time for a contract, it's signed quickly because the trust and relationship are already established.
So get out there and make friends!