My Ex and I are friends. We were always friends. I was comfortable enough to be myself around him and had the courage to be honest when things were rocky.

So I ask the question: Are you friends with your customers? Are you able to be yourself and honest when things are rocky?

In business, relationships are based on value. And when you keep the value you’re providing in mind, you can be sure you’re building business as well as friendships.

Try these tips for building and maintaining relationships:

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Would you hire yourself based on the value you bring to the table? If someone came to you with the same idea, product or service that you’re selling, would you buy it? Is there something you would change, add or take away? Answering these questions will help you focus on your own value and what you can do to improve.

Leave each person better off than when you found him or her.
Learn about the other person’s goals and what he or she is trying to accomplish, and figure out how you can help him or her get there. That could mean helping the person get access to a hard-to-reach contact, sharing an idea that might help grow his or her business, or simply offering an uplifting idea or thought.

Risk being different and making changes.
If you stay in one place with everything changing around you, you’ll eventually get left behind. When you try something different to attract new relationships, you might turn off some old contacts. But if building relationships is your goal, you’ll be able to take that risk and make it pay off in the end.


These are just a few simple tips that can garner huge results. You don’t have to be best friends with a customer to have a relationship. Solid relationships built on integrity and value will keep your business going and growing.