Customers and Spiders

Those of you who know me know that I’m somewhat of a workaholic.  Not at housework!  Heaven forbid!  But at growing my business.
Yesterday was no different.
I was sitting at my computer, going down the list of “to-dos” that I create for each day, when husband Ron walked up behind me.  He does this a lot.  Sometime looking over my shoulder.  Othertimes to tell me something or to ask where something is.
But this time, he put his hands on my shoulders and said, “Do you know I like you?”
“I like you, too,” I replied as I continued to type.
“No, I REALLY do like you,” he said.  “And I love you too.”
At that, I stopped the typing, turned around, and gave him my full attention.  We had a good conversation and then both of us went on about our business, feeling good about ourselves, each other, and our marriage.
I was a naive 18 year old when that marriage began almost 52 years ago.  I’ve learned a lot along the way and much was learned from him.  One of the most beautiful lessons that Ron has given me is to be appreciative and grateful for the smallest of things — even spiders
Now, I’m not afraid of spiders.  Yeh, I guess I am if they’re shiny and black with a red spot on their belly or if they’re reclusive and hiding in a dark corner in a storage unit.
But everyday spiders.  No, I’m not afraid of them.  But, just like cockroaches, I had always been taught to squash one when I saw it and hopefully I didn’t see either of them very often.
But Ron showed me a different way to treat the spiders (not the cockroaches which I haven’t seen even one of since moving out west).  One day, when a small spider with long legs was struggling to get out of my kitchen sink and I was reaching for the faucet to drown him, Ron walked up behind me and said, “Don’t do that.  They catch flies.”
He, then, reached for a newspaper, delicately allowed the spider to climb from the sink onto the paper which Ron then took outside and shook the spider off onto the ground.  The spider scampered away.
To me, these spiders were a nuisance.  To him, they were wonderful and individual beings.
This is also the BEST Lesson you’ll ever get about treating your customers.
Don’t just accumulate customers as a group of numbers to add to each time you make a sale.
Think of them as more than just “customers.”  When you forget that your customer list is made up of REAL people, you start treating them like objects.
Do you really KNOW your customers?  Do they know you LIKE them?
Probably not.
Now imagine for a minute…
What would your customers think if you took the time to contact every one of them, not as a customer on a list, but as a REAL PERSON?  What if you opened your heart to these PERSONS, shared stories, and let them know about stuff that you know that’s really cool and helpful but perhaps they don’t know about?
And, what if you asked them to share ideas and stories with you?
After a while…
What would you call them?
I call them FRIENDS.
Most of us treat FRIENDS much better than we treat customers.
But I’ve discovered that when I take the time to treat those customers as friends, soon, a few of them think of me as a friend.
And, you know what else I’ve discovered.
Friends listen when you have something to say.
Friends influence other people.
Friends buy from friends.
Friends feel connected!
Isn’t that what “building relationships with your customers” is all about?
Ron and I have survived as a couple for 52 years in September because we’ve learned from each other and respected each other’s thoughts and opinions.  But much more important is that we’re connected because we are FRIENDS.
The same is true of our customers.

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