Most of us remember our first childhood crush. Our first love. Our first kiss.

I was in seventh grade and her name was Lori Nolan. She was something special – piercing blue eyes, blonde curly hair and, by far, the best female athlete in our grade. Every time I was around her my heart would race, my palms got sweaty and I could barely form words out of my mouth. I fell hard the first time I laid eyes on Lori at CCD class at our local Catholic Church.

My first kiss was a disaster. I was incredibly nervous. Lori had mouthful of braces with more rubber bands attached than a sling-shot. It was a mess. Thank God it was also Lori’s first kiss, so she didn’t know any better. Those were the days.

My step-son, Anthony, is fifteen years old and a freshman in high school. One of the sweetest young men I’ve ever met. All boy, jock and all, but the kind of kid that still holds his mommy’s hand at the movies.

I have a feeling Anthony’s first kiss is just around the corner. He is experiencing his first crush. And she couldn’t be cuter, sweeter and come from a nicer family. I hope Anthony has better luck than I did thirty-two years ago!

The other night Anthony came to me upset. He shared with me that his young lady friend told him that she “wanted to take things slow”. He was crushed because he interpreted those words as “I just want to be friends”. You know the drill.

Anthony then asked me, “Tommy, how do I win this girl”?

I paused. And then responded softly, “Anthony, don’t try to win the girl. Try and win her heart.”

And those few words sparked an incredible conversation with my step-son about the power of taking things slow, the importance of respect, honor, being a gentleman and building relationships that last.
“Don’t try and win the girl – try and win her heart!”

Those teenage pep talk words might be the best business advice we all can learn from.
We are always trying to win the business.
Win the sale.
Win the next deal.
But what would it look like if we could win the hearts of our customers?
What would it look like if we took things slowly and won the hearts of our clients?
What if we didn’t try to win the sale or win the deal, but instead, win the relationship first?

Perhaps we all would get to first base a heck of a lot quicker – rubber bands and all.