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Turning Customers Into Friends

No business is an island--solid connections are key to success. Make friends as well as customers with these time-tested tactics.

By Barry Farber

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ask any successful entrepreneur what's at the root of his or her success, and over and over you'll hear, "It's all about relationships." You've likely heard this before, but it's worth a reminder. 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.

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