Recently I attended a Reunion of my College Radio/TV Department spanning a 15-year time frame. The organizer was a professor who was edified throughout the event for NOT treating people like a number. This was not only a stated goal of hers but also was lived out by her entire family. Her kids told stories from when they were young that they were informed a student would be staying at their house for a few days. Her approach was validated by a house filled to capacity with people talking, laughing, sharing stories, and seeing each for the first time in person since graduation for most.

Do you treat your customers like a number, or like family? It’s true that some act like the black sheep or brother-in-law taking much more than they give, but others find ways to help you wen times are tough with methods you couldn’t have imagined. Even “accounts” at mid-sized businesses can benefit from this approach as you become a part of their business life and they, yours.

If you find that you don’t do this well, spend some time thinking about how to change that. Seek advice from a business colleague who DOES do this well and learn their secrets. If people aren’t always your “thing” then figure out ways to accomplish this within your boundaries. It will have unimaginable returns for your business life and your personal one too.