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Everyone has needs. One of my needs is coffee. Two years ago I walked with my wife into a newly opened coffee bar to satisfy my desire. I was kindly greeted by Eddie, the owner and sole barrister of this comfortably arranged establishment. I ordered a large black coffee and my wife stared at the different options of doctored goodness. Eddie asked her what she normally likes, and offered to craft an original Chelsea Special (my wife’s name is Chelsea).

We sat down on a leather couch, and began to partake of the best coffee we had had in a long time. It was only fair that we paid compliment to its creator. Eddie was thankful for our approval, and decided that it would be a good time to converse with his new patrons. He asked us about our lives and what we were doing in Germany. He shared about his life and why he wanted to open his own coffee bar.

Chelsea and I returned to Eddie’s coffee bar many times. We would take friends there, and everyone was amazed at how well Eddie connected with his customers. Eddie would even ask about my friends when I returned the next time. Eddie knew how to create relationships.

Unfortunately, due to its poor location Eddie was forced to close down his coffee bar. It was a sad day for me and his other faithful patrons. I am glad that Eddie took a step of faith in opening his coffee bar, but I am truly thankful that Eddie taught me the importance of building relationships with customers. Eddie was not just looking to make a profit. Eddie was consciously investing in relationships.

A couple of days ago I ran into Eddie doing some marketing for an internet provider – handing out promotional items. He greeted me by name, and asked how Chelsea and I were doing. As we started saying our goodbyes, he stopped me and said, “It is supposed to snow tomorrow. Would you like an ice scraper for your car?” I know it was marketing material, but I also heard the care in his voice. He wanted to help out a friend.

I watched as Eddie conversed with more and more future clients and faithful friends. Do you think investing in relationships doesn’t matter for your career? Twenty feet across from where Eddie was standing was the Grand Opening of a new boutique. They had balloons, signs, and even a man broadcasting the event. People were moving in Eddie’s direction.

When building a company or organization, don’t forget to Invest in Relationships.

It has been snowing the last two days, and Eddie’s investment is helping me do my job better.