Why thinking business is not personal is wrong!

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“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” ~Michael Corleone

This quote is from a freaking movie, people! It’s not real life. As much as we would like to live our lives like the 1940s, New York Mobsters, we aren’t. If you would really like to follow advice from a fictional movie character, might I suggest Elsa, and let this one go!

Will you do business with someone who mistreats you or a family member?

If a baker insults your wife, you are not going to say, “I know he questioned who the father of our first born was but we can’t stop going there, honey. He bakes the best gluten free donuts in town.” No, out of respect for your spouse, you are never going shop there again. You are also never going to say anything positive about this bakery ever again. If you do happen to mention this store, it will be to slander it and tell the story of how you were insulted. Chances are, the relaying of this story could dissuade other people from shopping there. A personal attack on a customer is bad for business.

As a boss, getting personal with your team is good business.

If you don’t get involved, even just a little, in your team’s personal life, you are not going to give the impression that you care. Good leaders care. Of course, I don’t mean intruding in on their privacy but you can’t ignore that fact that a family member passed away, that it’s their birthday, or they just had a child. “We had a son, boss!” “Whoa! Let’s keep this professional, Smith. Get me those TPS reports and be sure to make up for that time you spent in the hospital.”

You don’t buy from anyone you don’t trust.

There are exceptions but in most cases, before you buy anything from anyone, you have to know, like, and trust them. This is very personal. Especially if you are going to buy from them again. Think of anyone you have done recurring business with. Why do you keep buying from them? Is it because you know, like, and trust them?

Yes, there are dishonest salespeople out there. There are a lot of them. You have to realize that the reason they are lying to you is to gain your trust, so they can get your business. Once you find out you have been deceived, do you ever buy from them again? No, you don’t. You no longer trust them and THAT is personal. As a result, you no longer buy from them and THAT is business.

Personally, most of my sales don’t come until people have had a chance to talk to me. As much as I would like to sell books to millions of strangers, it’s just not happening unless they get to know me. I gave a talk on my first book at a cafe and sold a book to 90% of the people there. Just the other day, after talking with a random stranger at a cafe, he asked, where can I get one of your books. I said, Amazon, but gave him one of the ones in my backpack. I should have sold it to him. I could have used the gas money.

Don’t take it personally.

Maybe this is where people get confused. Business is personal but you shouldn’t take it personally. The second agreement in the book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, is “Don’t take anything personally.” Don Miguel Ruiz claims that “Nothing others do is because of you.“ If a business owner insults you, that’s bad business for him but don’t take is personal. He is just a dick. If a team member quits unexpectedly, they were a bad employee. Don’t take it personally and be glad they left. If someone doesn’t buy from you, don’t take it personally. Don’t let it affect your life and get you down. It had nothing to do with you. A few weeks ago someone decided not to use my company anymore. I didn’t take it personally. This person made it very apparent that he was jealous of my lifestyle. There was nothing I could do about it. If you interested, I wrote a blog post about it.

The good news is that you don’t want these people in your life anyway. You want people to know, like, and trust you, whether they are your customer or on your team. You want to have a PERSONAL relationship with these people because business is personal. And, as long as you continue to think business is NOT personal, your success in business will be limited.

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One comment on “Why thinking business is not personal is wrong!
  1. thenrick says:

    Great points David! I know as a leader we need to engage our team. It seems some still cling to the outdated notion that we shouldn’t get to know our team or the people we work with.

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