By Jeffrey Gitomer –
Friends Make the Best Customers
Your mom said it best. As a child, when you were fighting or arguing with a sibling or friend, your mom would say, “Billy, you know better than that! Now you make friends with Johnny.” Your mother never told you to use the alternative-of-choice close or the sharp-angle close on Johnny.
She just said make friends. That may have been one of the most powerful sales lessons you ever got.
It is estimated that more than 50 percent of sales are made because of friendship.
In the South it’s called “the good-old-boy network.” In the North they say it’s “Who you know,” but it’s really just friendship selling.
If you think you’re going to get the sale because you have the best product, best service or best price, dream on, Bubba. You’re not even half right.
If 50 percent of sales are made on a friendly basis, and you haven’t made friends with the prospect (or customer), you’re missing 50 percent of your market.
Friends don’t need to sell friends using sales techniques. Think about it: You don’t need sales techniques when you ask a friend out or ask for a favor – you just ask.
You don’t need more sales techniques. You need more friends.
This does not eliminate your need to be a master salesman. You must know sales techniques to get the other half of the market, and sometimes even your friends need to be sold. So keep listening to those tapes in your car.
Now 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 and delivery-time demands. You can even occasionally give bad service and still keep the customer.
There’s another huge bonus to being friends – competition is virtually eliminated. Your best competitor couldn’t blast you away from a customer who is also a friend.
Most salespeople think that unless they are calling a customer to sell something that it’s a wasted call. Nothing could be further from the truth.
How do you start? Slowly. It takes time to develop a relationship. It takes time to build a friendship. If you are reading this and thinking “I don’t have time for this relationship stuff, I’m 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. A different venue than the office will begin building friendships and relationships:
• A ballgame
• The theater
• A concert
• A gallery crawl
• A Chamber after-hours event
• A community help project
• A breakfast, a lunch, a dinner
• A seminar given by your company.
Having moved from the North to the South has helped me understand the value of business friends. They are much easier to establish in the South. I’m often in conversations where someone is lamenting the fact they can’t get into or around the so-called the good-old-boy network. That is the biggest bunch of baloney and lamest sales excuse I’ve heard. All the salesperson is saying is that he has failed to establish a relationship or make a friend AND SOMEONE ELSE HAS!
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books, including “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude.” His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy.com. For information about training and seminars visit www.Gitomer.com or www.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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