OPINION: It’s estimated that half of all sales are made on the basis of an established friendship, so if you’re not making nice you’re missing out on half of your market.
There's an old business adage that says: “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. And all things being not so equal, people still want to do business with their friends.”
It is estimated that more than half of all sales are made and business relationships kept because of friendship.
If you think you’re going to make the sale because you have the best product, best service or best price, dream on. You’re not even half right. If 50 per cent of sales are made on a friendly basis, and you haven’t made friends with your prospect (or customer) you’re missing half of your market.
And the best part is that friends don’t need to sell tofriends by using sales techniques.
Think about it, you don’t need sales techniques when you ask a friend out, or ask for a favour – you just ask.
If you’re looking to make more sales, you don’t need more sales techniques, you need more friends.
Think about your best customers. How did they get that way? Don’t you have great relationships with them? If you’re friends with your best customer, it will often eliminate the need for price checking, price negotiating, bidding and delivery time demands. You can even occasionally give bad service and still keep the customer.
Think about the five customers you wish you had; the reason you don’t have them is that someone has a better relationship with them than you do.
There’s another huge bonus to being friends – competition is eliminated. Your best competitor couldn’t blast you away from a customer who is also a friend. Most sales people think that unless they are calling a customer to sell something that it’s a wasted call.
Nothing could be further from the truth. People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.
It takes time to develop a relationship; it takes time to build a friendship. (If you are reading this and thinking you don’t have time for this relationship stuff because you’re too busy making sales, find a new profession, this one won’t last long.)
Here are a few places to meet or take your customer. The biggest mistake many salespeople make is giving away tickets, and not going with the customer. You can learn a lot (and give value to a relationship) spending a few quality hours with the people who provide the money to you and your company.
A different venue than the office will begin building friendships and relationships. Here are a few to ponder:
• the football;
• the theatre;
• a concert;
• a gallery crawl;
• a local business association after-hours event;
• a community help project;
• a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner;
• a seminar given by your com pany; or
• if your customer has kids, get a few tickets to an IMAX theatre. Go on the weekend.
Join a business association and get involved. I belong to the Metrolina Business Council; it’s a 40-year-old group of business owners and managers whose main objective is to do business with one another and help members get business. But MBC is not just about business; it’s about relationships and friendships.
Local chambers of commerce and business associations are a great place top start in this regard.
However, friendship building does not eliminate your need to be a master salesperson. You must know sales strategies and techniques to capture the other half of the market. Life-long learning is not an option – it’s an imperative. It’s the same with sales mastery.
Salespeople I speak with often lament the fact they can’t get into or around the so-called ‘network’ in their town or city. That is the biggest bunch of baloney and lamest sales excuse I’ve ever heard. All the salesperson is saying is that he/she has failed to bring anything of value to the table, and failed to establish a relationship or make a friend (and someone else has).
You can only earn a commission using a sales technique, but you can earn a fortune building friendships and relationships.
Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development. © 2017 All rights reserved. Don’t reproduce this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.