One of the best books you could ever read that reveals the secret key to building a successful business is entitled: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It was originally written over 70 years ago but almost every successful business person has read it and applied its principles. And because I want to be successful, I read it myself, and after doing so, I can now recommend it to you.

One of the secret keys you will learn in this dynamic book is that your customers do not care about you; they care about their own needs. But people who fail in business only think about their needs, not the needs of their customers. However, people who are successful in business place their customers’ needs above their own.

Let me give you an example of what happened to me the other day. I was planning a vacation to Alamosa, Colorado to visit the Great Sand Dunes for my 50th birthday. I found a cute little cabin online that was a bed and breakfast and sent them an email that said:

“I was very impressed with your cabins and I would like to celebrate my 50th birthday there on July 5th. Please call me and let me know if you have a cabin (at any price) available for July 4th and 5th. If so, I will give you my credit card information and book the cabin immediately. Besides, I am planning to move to the area within a few years and perhaps I could hire you as a carpenter to build me a cabin like you have photographs of on your website. I look forward in speaking with you.”

Notice that I provided the innkeepers with enough personal information about me and my desires that would enable them to successfully sell me a cabin rental. I told them it was for my 50th birthday. I also told them how impressed I was with their cabins. I told them I didn’t care what the price was. And I told them I was ready to pay them with my credit card. Additionally, I even included the fact that we may become neighbors and he might be hired to build me a cabin within a few years.

But the innkeeper who received my email was not a person who read the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Instead, he was only concerned with his wants and desires not his potential customers. In fact, he even overlooked the possibility that he might have been able to make an extra $75,000 or more building me a cabin in the near future and we could become good neighbors for many years.

Instead, this is how the conversation went when he called me:

Innkeeper: We don’t have any cabins available on July 4th but we have one available on July 5th.

Me: So, are you asking me to sleep in my car on July 4th?

Innkeeper: (Silence)

Me: Since you live in that area, can you suggest accommodations to me for the 4th and I will rent your cabin on the 5th?

(This is where the Innkeeper really hurt his chances.)

Innkeeper: Our cabins are the cleanest and best in the area. But we are also the most expensive. Therefore, if our cabins are sold out, you won’t be able to find anyplace in the area to stay on the 4th.

Me: That’s all I need to know about you. You have shown me that you are not someone I want to know as a human being. Goodbye. (Then I hung up on the nut.)

Do you see what I mean? If the innkeeper had not been interested in his own ego and supplying his own wants and needs, he would have said something like: “Tell you what. Let me make a couple of calls and see what I can do for you.” Then, after a little while, he could have called me back and said “I couldn’t find anything for you on the 4th but I would be happy to reserve the cabin for your birthday on the 5th.” With this approach, I would have rented the cabin on July 5th and found my own accommodations for the 4th.

But since I knew the innkeeper was only interested in his own needs, I would never give him my business, never contact him to build me a cabin and never speak to him as a neighbor. Besides, I could care less how clean the innkeeper’s cabins were since I couldn’t rent one. I also could care less that they were the most expensive since I couldn’t rent one. The information the innkeeper provided to me did nothing to fill my wants and needs. The comments he made only benefited him.

The Summary of the Story

If your business is not as successful as you want it to be, there is something you are doing wrong. It could be a number of reasons why your business is not successful, but one overlooked reason may be that you are only thinking about your own wants and needs. Instead, think of your customer’s wants and needs first – just like you do your children.

How many of you, who are parents, do a number of things to fulfill the wants and needs of your children? How many times have you dragged yourself to a school function when you were so tired you could barely hold your eyes open? Why did you do it? For the kid who lives down the block? No, you did it to fulfill your child’s wants and needs.

Start thinking of your customers in the same way that you give of yourself to fulfill your children’s, spouse’s or family’s wants and needs. Then, buy the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and you may see a huge change in your business income and the success of your business as well as your personal life.

My thoughts and prayers are with you in the coming days ahead.

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