Think of your all time favorite customer. Take your time, I will wait! Got them in mind? 

Now,  how do you act around them? Pretty loose I’ll bet, in fact, it’s probably the way you might act around  friends and family. When we are with people we are close with, we just act like ourselves

Normally, we do not  think before we talk, we just let our “hair down.”

I am amazed how many people act so phony around their customers or clients. Many  people call this professional. I call this insincere and phony. I want to know the real person,  not someone who is fake or trying to be impressive.  

No one is like that with the people who are closest to us, such as friends and family. To be truthful with other people, whether it is business or personal, at least to me, is what it  is all about. 

It is kind of like dating. At first you are playing games and trying to impress the other party. Then, at some point in the relationship, we start to feel comfortable and just start acting like ourselves and just plain being a natural person.

Wouldn’t it be great if we  could cut all the “stuff” out? Well, you can, you just have to decide that you want to do it. Here are some ways to build better business relationships: 

Be yourself. Not the hardest thing to do. Try it, you might even like it. It is so easy to be  around people that make us feel welcome or allow us to just be ourselves

One of my  closest friends for more than 40 years is an accountant, and he always acts so stiff on his first or  second meeting with a new or prospective client. It is such a shame that it takes him a while  to loosen up because when he does, people really see the wild sense of humor he has along with his incredible loyalty as a true friend. 

Basically, he is nuts ... but in a good way. 

Someone has to break the ice. Instead of playing the corporate game, why not play the personal game? 

After that, share something personal about yourself. We are all such similar people when  you really get down to it. 

Find a common ground. Take notice of things as I mentioned before. Everyone has something in common. The key is to look for it or ask a few questions. You can tell if your questions are too personal or upsetting, usually the person will tell you.

If they don’t convey  their feelings by words, their body language will definitely give you clues. 

Don’t try to impress or have an agenda in mind. Sometimes, when we meet new people we want to seem impressive or important to them.

To me, the nicer someone is, or  the more open they are, the more impressed I get.

Also, forget your agenda if your only goal is to try to “sell them” something. People can see right through this and will quickly  realize that you are not there to form a relationship, but to satisfy your own financial goals.

Be the way with them as you would like them to be with you. This is kind of like the  golden rule we learned as children, which was “Treat people the way you want to be  treated.” 

If we quit all the game playing and posturing to seem professional or powerful,  and we just become natural and  easy to be around, the experience would change  dramatically. Think of all future business settings as a barbecue in your backyard. You want  to please everyone and just have a good old fashioned easy day with good company. 

Trust me, if you try a few of these common sense easy ways to loosen up the “business  atmosphere” you will enjoy much deeper relationships quicker than you ever expected.  Why wait months or years to finally get to know someone,when it could take a couple of  hours?

Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of two best selling books, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s book on negotiating is titled “Get What You Want! He can be reached at Halbecker.com.