Do you want to make friends, or do you want to make sales?

53 replies
There's been a lot of back and forth about the desire to make a sale being at cross purposes with what's in the best interest of the prospect.

The notion seems to be that you can only do one or the other. That if your only intention is to close the deal, than there is no way that you can show that you have concern for the client. I'm going to do my best to try to dispell this nonsense, because the fact is that nothing could be further from the truth once your really understand sales.

First we have to assume some facts to be understood:

1. That your product/service is of value and the prospect would benefit by purchasing it.
2. You prospect is properly qualified as the decision maker.
3. You as a representative of the product are able to present the features and benefits properly.

Let's agree that we are speaking with a business owner and the qualifying factors have been met. His concern is that you have something that could increase his profits or reduce his costs. He has no other reason to speak with you, you didn't meet on eHarmony.

This is the only reason that intelligent business owners make a buying decision. If what you are selling doesn't meet that benchmark, you need to sell something else.

Keep in mind that this is a conversation. Simply because your goal is to close the deal, it doesn't preclude that you aren't having a conversation about how your product/service will be able to meet the end goal of increasing profit or reducing costs.

There seems to be the idea that if you are not "making friends" with the prospect, that you are simply delivering a canned presentation of facts and figures. Basically a one-way message ending with "which card will you be using today" and hanging up to dial the next one regardless of the prospects reply. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I will concede that it may be the case if you are selling newspaper subscriptions or setting appointments for home alarm systems, or cemetery plots. But the vast majority of us are selling professional services to business owners and that requires a different skill set.

Now, all things being equal, if you have shown that your product/service is able to meet a prospects need, if you have provided him with evidence that your proposition is a good choice, if you have answered his objections truthfully, I'm at a lack of understanding as to how I have put my goal to close the deal, ahead of displaying my concern for the prospect.

Once you have gotten to this point with your prospect, it's your obligation as a professional to close the deal. If you prefer, I can put that in more "huggie feelie" terms, it's your obligation to help make it easy for the prospect to buy.

If you're of the mindset that after doing your job perfectly the prospect is going to to ask "who should I make the check out to?" ....You're going to be walking away empty handed in just about every instance.

As salespeople, and as hard as it is for many technoids to admit that's what we are when we're asking someone to buy, it's not our job to make friends. When a business owner gives us an opportunity to have a certain amount of time and attention, he expects to know what it is that you are bringing to the table that will be of value, that's it, nothing else.

If you have made the case that you can save him money or increase his profits, is there a better time to start doing that than right now?

You don't have to show every prospect that you can be a good friend. You have to show that you are a good vendor and can be trusted to perform in the manner you've presented.

I don't have a social relationship with my doctor, dentist, accountant, attorney, or my mechanic. None of them have expressed the interest in having a social relationship with me, nor do I wish to have one with them.

However, on a professional basis, these are the people who I trust to look out for my health, finances, business, and vehicles. This is the same and preferred relationship that I have with my clients.

When I get a referral from a client, the client who refers me never says, he's a great friend and he really cares about me. He says, he does good work and you can count on him to deliver what he promises.

I'm sorry this is such a long post, but I'm quite tired of the characterization that salespeople focused on closing the deal have no concern for the well being of the prospect. These two concepts are not diametrically opposed and if your product/service will put your prospect in a better position, nothing could be further from the truth.
#friends #make #sales
  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Great post. So very true, but I wonder how many people will hit the thanks button, comment, and then move on forgetting all about this. Not to mention all the other people who will never get to this point because they refuse to call, and just use email and other techniques.

    People don't understand the value in getting sales experience. I wish I would have started learning long ago.

    There is just too much fluff going on... people too concerned about what times to call, how to get past the gatekeeper, percentages, pitch, people are just too worried about how they come across instead of just doing it and letting it evolve as you get more confidence.

    I have a lot of clients... never tried making friends with any of them. Actually have become kind of friendly with one client, since he flew me out to aspen to go skiing. Was a good time, but he also has brought me about $20,000 in business.
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  • Gary Vee of the "Thank you Economy" says you love your mother because you mother loved you first.

    So many of us get spent sales messages without showing any personal interest in us. Gary Vee took their wine business from $4Million to $67Million all because he made friends and showed person interest.

    Zappos is a Billion dollar per year shoe company. This is crazy for a online shoe company but they showed interest in their customers.

    Disney park calls their customer guests. What do you do for a guest don't you offer them something to eat or drink.

    What can we do to build friendship with our prospect then they will buy and will not go any where else.
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    • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
      Originally Posted by prostarprofitsdotcom View Post

      Gary Vee of the "Thank you Economy" says you love your mother because you mother loved you first.

      So many of us get spent sales messages without showing any personal interest in us. Gary Vee took their wine business from $4Million to $67Million all because he made friends and showed person interest.

      Zappos is a Billion dollar per year shoe company. This is crazy for a online shoe company but they showed interest in their customers.

      Disney park calls their customer guests. What do you do for a guest don't you offer them something to eat or drink.

      What can we do to build friendship with our prospect then they will buy and will not go any where else.
      Unfortunately I think you misunderstood everything David said. I would suggest going back and reading it, but I doubt that will change anything.

      I seriously doubt a business owner is picking up the phone expecting a blossoming friendship. I think a business owner would expect a great working relationship on the premises of the person on the phone being able to reduce his costs, increase his profits, and increase visibility. Ultimately, it comes down to profits. A businessman that stretches out negative and costly relationships, is one that doesn't have great business sense. Even consumers... if they get a telemarketing call, instead of the goal of becoming their friend... you want to save them money, save them energy, increase efficiency by using your product or service. THAT is caring, and showing interest in your customers.

      Now once you have a customer, of course you need to continue to care about them if you are offering a service. Making the sale is only one part of it. You need to be able to follow through and give results.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Koenig
        Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

        Unfortunately I think you misunderstood everything David said. I would suggest going back and reading it, but I doubt that will change anything.

        I seriously doubt a business owner is picking up the phone expecting a blossoming friendship. I think a business owner would expect a great working relationship on the premises of the person on the phone being able to reduce his costs, increase his profits, and increase visibility. Ultimately, it comes down to profits. A businessman that stretches out negative and costly relationships, is one that doesn't have great business sense. Even consumers... if they get a telemarketing call, instead of the goal of becoming their friend... you want to save them money, save them energy, increase efficiency by using your product or service. THAT is caring, and showing interest in your customers.

        Now once you have a customer, of course you need to continue to care about them if you are offering a service. Making the sale is only one part of it. You need to be able to follow through and give results.

        Exactly.
        It's about the business rapport.
        Which is not the same as friendship.

        Here's what my product/service does for you. Here's how. Sale.
        You don't want to take a 'beat around the bush' approach.

        A business owner has limited time. Once you have some of that time you want to be direct.


        Also, for people new to sales, always ask for the sale. I've trained and watched many people get into sales. Perform an excellent presentation or give a great conversation via the phone.
        But.
        They don't go for the close.
        You need to ask for the sale.

        From my experience the number 1 reason for this is fear of getting a 'no'. Or some unexpected result.
        Worst case is a no.
        Best case is a yes.

        If you don't ask it's the same as a no.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Miller
      Originally Posted by prostarprofitsdotcom View Post

      Gary Vee of the "Thank you Economy" says you love your mother because you mother loved you first.

      So many of us get spent sales messages without showing any personal interest in us. Gary Vee took their wine business from $4Million to $67Million all because he made friends and showed person interest.

      Zappos is a Billion dollar per year shoe company. This is crazy for a online shoe company but they showed interest in their customers.

      Disney park calls their customer guests. What do you do for a guest don't you offer them something to eat or drink.

      What can we do to build friendship with our prospect then they will buy and will not go any where else.
      Nothing in my post indicated that I don't understand the value of keeping in touch with my clients. Some retail sales companies feel the need to extend a warm fuzzy and it may work for shoes, and disney but I've never gotten an email from a vendor with a "dear friend" salutation, or a call from one just wanting to say "hi!" I don't want that, but I do want to know I can count on them for the services they provide.

      I keep in touch with my clients on a regular basis with information or ideas that would be helpful or at least of interest to them. My goal is that they respect me as a professional that can help them, not to have dinner with them or for them to keep me in their nightly prayers.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanmckinney
    Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

    However, on a professional basis, these are the people who I trust to look out for my health, finances, business, and vehicles. This is the same and preferred relationship that I have with my clients.

    Amazingly simple and straight forward sentences.


    Ryan
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    "A friendship born from business beats business born from friendship"

    I heard something like this from a wise man and totally agree with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author ADukes81
    I am a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuck and believe in just about everything he says.

    I just watched a video of his last night where a small printing company was asking for his advice. They said they they had around 100 customers and he told them that they need to treat those customers like they are best friends. I tend to agree.

    I have offered, on 2 occasions, on offering my assistance on helping my client move. I am no big timer (11 clients as of right now) and I want to develop a friendship with most of them. I think developing a friendship with them helps in the long run. I could be wrong, as I always respect what you say Mr. Miller & Iamnameless, but I don't think it hurts to do this.

    One of my client's tells me his weekend stories at the bar and finding a girlfriend (for the night), Why? because he trusts me. He's probably 45 (I am 30), but we talk like we're buddies having a beer. I value that. Now, I would not talk like that with some of my clients, but like having that trust factor with him.

    Maybe that's how I was raised, but that's how I feel.

    Then again, maybe that is why I am struggling, too...
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    • Profile picture of the author David Miller
      @Adukes81 -

      What you are doing is conflating the premise. No one has ever implied that you shouldn't have a friendship with a client if that's what you wish.

      The point is they were customers before friends. There's nothing wrong with having a friendship with a client, I think a person can never have enough friends.

      I think it's very wrong, and downright deceptive and not considerate of a business person's time if you attempt to win him as a friend when the bottom line is you want his business.

      All of us have clients we like and clients we just deal with. But honestly, when you are prospecting, you're not looking for friends, your looking for business. You might becomes friends with your clients once they are clients, but only if they know that your intentions were clear all along.
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      • Profile picture of the author professor x
        well said! Putting it that way makes it clear.

        Thanks David!

        Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

        @Adukes81 -

        What you are doing is conflating the premise. No one has ever implied that you shouldn't have a friendship with a client if that's what you wish.

        The point is they were customers before friends. There's nothing wrong with having a friendship with a client, I think a person can never have enough friends.

        I think it's very wrong, and downright deceptive and not considerate of a business person's time if you attempt to win him as a friend when the bottom line is you want his business.

        All of us have clients we like and clients we just deal with. But honestly, when you are prospecting, you're not looking for friends, your looking for business. You might becomes friends with your clients once they are clients, but only if they know that your intentions were clear all along.
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      • Profile picture of the author Colm Whelan
        Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

        I think it's very wrong, and downright deceptive and not considerate of a business person's time if you attempt to win him as a friend when the bottom line is you want his business.
        And there it is! That's the point that I couldn't distill from what you originally posted. I think this is probably on the foot of a thread we agreed on a few days ago.

        Such practices are deceptive and are extremely unlikely to win you repeat clients. The only thing that will get you that is consistently over-delivering value and exceeding expectations preferably coupled with a pleasant and friendly demeanour or at the very least a professional one.
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    • Profile picture of the author professor x
      I have found that warm fuzzies w/business prospects and keeping to business (while being nice) is a fine line.

      I also agree with the mantra: "like you, trust you, know you" - but that can be done as a friendly person.

      I've spent (wasted?) many a several hours chumming it up only to be overlooked later. Of course, it may be because I wasn't consistent on my "sales game." I like making friends when I meet new business, but I also am aware that not everyone has the same interest in that kind of relationship either.

      I think I can go either way. For me it is a fine line.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Here's what we're talking about:

    Need for approval.

    Half of salespeople need approval from their prospects.

    This is the biggest problem salespeople have.

    It stops them from asking the tough, uncomfortable questions.

    You're not inviting these people home for dinner!


    If you're hiring a salesperson, you need to check for this.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Miller
      Here's what can happen if you want to make friends first:

      What follows is 100% factual. At the time it was no big deal, in fact it gave all of us involved a good laugh. What we laughed about was what a waste of time it can be to be nice!

      I had a good friend and their family owned a small high end car dealership. When I say small, I mean 20 cars a month, and anyone who knows the industry, that's pretty much not even a real dealership. What made their store unique was that they opened their door in 1939, 95% of their sales were to repeat buyers, and every car in their used lot was sold originally and serviced by them. They asked me if I would mind selling cars there on the occassional Saturday, and I thought it would be fun, and actually it was.

      I was actually pretty good at it and managed to sell about 6 cars a month over 3 Saturdays to new customers. One sunny saturday a husband and wife came in and I met with them and spent a lot of time showing them a few different cars and just being a nice low pressure kinda guy. We spent nearly 2 hours together. They left, thanked me profusely and assured me they would be back. Even I knew I would never see them again, but it was what a lot of friendly salespeople hear every day. When I walked back into the dealership, the owner of the store asked me when the wedding was. If you've ever sold cars, you probably know what that means.

      The following Saturday I came into the dealership about noon and the owner asked me to come into his office, he had something to show me, and he was laughing as he handed me a "thank you card" from the couple that I spent all that time with. Now this was a long time ago and I kept the card. It said:

      It was addressed to the dealership owner,

      We wanted to tell you what a great salesman you have in David Miller. He made our visit to your dealership the most pleasant car buying experience my wife and I have ever had. With someone like David on your staff, I can see why your dealership has maintained a stellar reputation over the years. He answered all our questions, was courteous, knowledgeable, and I hope we have the opportunity to deal with him again in the future.

      However, due to a set of circumstances that we have come to realize, we are forced to purchase the car from xxxxx dealership. But be sure to give our thanks to David for all his assistance.

      Now PLEASE don't let this start a string of car buying/selling stories and most especially please don't start with the wonder that you are when you go to buy a car. This thread isn't about how you feel about car salesman. And this REAL LIFE example is where expressions like: "nice guys finish last" come from.
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    • Profile picture of the author Aussieguy
      Originally Posted by kaniganj View Post

      Here's what we're talking about:

      Need for approval.

      Half of salespeople need approval from their prospects.

      Jason - do you think this is a personality thing? Meaning, does this stat give any credence to the thought that sales is not for every personality type?
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by Aussieguy View Post

        Jason - do you think this is a personality thing? Meaning, does this stat give any credence to the thought that sales is not for every personality type?
        No, I don't think it's restricted to one type of person.

        And as far as using profiling to tell if someone can sell or not...I'm a "C" in the DISC profile and some trainers will tell you C's can't sell.

        Yeah. Love proving them wrong.

        If you need an awesome assessment to tell if someone can sell or not, PM me. I don't make any money off of it.
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      • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
        Originally Posted by Aussieguy View Post

        Jason - do you think this is a personality thing? Meaning, does this stat give any credence to the thought that sales is not for every personality type?
        Okay, I'll say it.

        Women started this. Become "best friends" immediately, because instant friendships are how all genuine lifelong phony friendships happen. Then eventually someday maybe talk about talking about getting down to talking about business. Talking things to death is always time well spent. Especially if you get to dress up and go out to lunch to talk about talking about stuff.

        Women started it, feminized men picked it up. Think Avon, Mary Kay, Amway, and every other MLM scheme you've ever heard of.
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        • Profile picture of the author David Miller
          @beeswarn - Awesome!

          Did you know that they just started marketing engagement rings for men here in the USA?
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        • Profile picture of the author reactiontm
          Originally Posted by beeswarn View Post

          Women started this..
          HAH!

          If "women" started it, a whole lot of MEN have taken off and run with it... particularly on this forum.

          While kaniganj's busy trying to turn everyone into a salesperson, I'm of the opinion that a lot of people would be much better off hiring a salesperson.

          You can spend your time doing what you do well, or you can waste your life trying to be someone you're not, so you can SOMEDAY focus on your strengths.

          I don't know whether it's greed, or scarcity thinking, or what, but a lot of people would be better off getting a good salesperson to promote their stuff than starving themselves out of the industry.
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          • Originally Posted by reactiontm View Post

            HAH!

            If "women" started it, a whole lot of MEN have taken off and run with it... particularly on this forum.

            While kaniganj's busy trying to turn everyone into a salesperson, I'm of the opinion that a lot of people would be much better off hiring a salesperson.

            You can spend your time doing what you do well, or you can waste your life trying to be someone you're not, so you can SOMEDAY focus on your strengths.

            I don't know whether it's greed, or scarcity thinking, or what, but a lot of people would be better off getting a good salesperson to promote their stuff than starving themselves out of the industry.
            Couldn't agree more. When I had first started, if I had spent 1/2 the time finding a good salesperson as I did trying to be one myself, I would have been financially free by now LOL
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            • Profile picture of the author David Miller
              Reactiontm I think you touched on the key to what people in this forum must think that constantly creates the battle over this negative attitude about sales.

              "However, your objective on any given presentation is to determine if what you have to offer is a good fit FIRST, and then only attempt to close if that fit is there."


              Why would anyone assume that this is NOT the case for any salesperson. In what world do you believe that anyone could achieve any measure of success if all they did was try to sell something that either wasn't qualified or wasn't a good fit for your product.

              As I said in another post, many things in life should "go without having to say" but in this forum common sense seems to fly out the window. (Not an attack on you reactiontm) What you've shown me by this statement is what people in this forum must think about salespeople. That our only goal is to shove as much product down the throat of each prospect as we possibly can. I suppose this is based in the notion that appropriate prospects are hard to find.

              Do you think that every salesperson is a pinky ring wearing hustler? I can tell you that this image is only found in bad movies and used car lots in some parts of the country.

              However, every web designer and seo expert is a gawky pocket protector wearing, socially inadequate dolt, I have an equal amount of proof of that as you do about salespeople.
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              • Profile picture of the author reactiontm
                Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

                What you've shown me by this statement is what people in this forum must think about salespeople..
                That's precisely why I wrote it... because that is exactly the impression I get around here... that a "salesperson" [ewwwwww!] is someone who's trying to sell something to someone with absolutely no regard for whether or not they need it.

                And... when I read of the trials and tribulations of those out in the field, I get this, "What's wrong with THEM?" vibe, as if it's the prospect's fault for not immediately understanding the value of what's offered.

                Those two mindsets seem to be sides of the same coin in some ways.
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                • Profile picture of the author David Miller
                  @reactiontm - If that's the impression that you or anyone else gets, than it's clear that the mindset many of the people in this forum have is such that they don't even read the posts before coming to ridiculous conclusions.

                  If people would take the time to READ what many of us write, we talk about questioning and qualifying the prospect. Just what do you think the purpose of that is? To make them feel like idiots?

                  The purspose is too understand if this prospect is a good fit for what may be offered at the time. Once it's determined that there's a match, than it's a matter of presenting it in such a way that the prospect may be able to see the value.

                  But clearly there are so many preconceived notions here, that this is no longer worth the bother and may never have been.
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                  • Profile picture of the author HypeText
                    I think too often "Developing Rapport" and "Listening" to a Potential client gets mistaken for "Making Friends" with the Prospective Client.

                    There is a Massive difference!
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                  • Profile picture of the author reactiontm
                    Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

                    @reactiontm - If that's the impression that you or anyone else gets, than it's clear that the mindset many of the people in this forum have is such that they don't even read the posts before coming to ridiculous conclusions.
                    Oops... duplicate post.

                    sorry.
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                  • Profile picture of the author reactiontm
                    Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

                    @reactiontm - If that's the impression that you or anyone else gets, than it's clear that the mindset many of the people in this forum have is such that they don't even read the posts before coming to ridiculous conclusions.
                    I didn't say this was my mindset, I said it's the impression that I get HERE.

                    Think back to some of the conversations you've had here. I don't see how anyone could look at some of these threads and reach a different conclusion.

                    Much of the head-banging you've been doing here is due to the baggage that a lot of people are bringing to the table about their impression of sales.

                    Hey, I'm just the new guy here... but that's what I see as a casual observer. I could be wrong, or may have missed the mark slightly, but I think you see some truth in this conclusion.

                    Perhaps it's time for your be-all/end-all thread laying out, here are the unspoken basics.
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          • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
            Originally Posted by reactiontm View Post

            HAH!

            If "women" started it, a whole lot of MEN have taken off and run with it... particularly on this forum.

            While kaniganj's busy trying to turn everyone into a salesperson, I'm of the opinion that a lot of people would be much better off hiring a salesperson.

            You can spend your time doing what you do well, or you can waste your life trying to be someone you're not, so you can SOMEDAY focus on your strengths.

            I don't know whether it's greed, or scarcity thinking, or what, but a lot of people would be better off getting a good salesperson to promote their stuff than starving themselves out of the industry.
            Who said I was trying to turn everyone into a salesperson?

            I cannot control what anyone else does. Only what I do. I can put a consistent message out there. That's it.

            What you do with it is your business.

            However, from the time you tried to get your mom to let you have that pre-dinner cookie, you've been a salesperson. So I don't have to try to turn anyone into a salesperson: they already are one. Also, most people cannot AFFORD a hired salesperson when they start.


            The fact of the matter is, people seem to want to become great salespeople overnight. I guess they'd expect to become expert Anythings overnight. What a joke. You say "Well, I didn't do well on Day 1 so I guess this must not be for me." Great stick-to-it-iveness. I really want to work with you. Guess what? You'll still be spinning your wheels 5 years from now.

            I was not a Born Salesperson. My background is in business administration and operations management. I learned how to run factories. I was a plant manager when I was 25. And I HATED it. I got into sales by accident. I was lousy on the phone, and you couldn't have found a more timid guy. I have learned and matured into the person I am today.

            As for fit, I agree: we are not a fit for everyone. I do not try to sell to everyone I talk to. Neither, for that matter, does John Durham (he has better examples, but maybe they're on TMF and this is the one I found here). I don't want 100% of prospects for clients. Listen to my interview for why.

            The basic mistake here is not understanding there are TWO parts to the process:

            QUALIFYING

            and then

            SELLING.

            Read my comment on Dave Kurlan's blog here.

            If you haven't noticed, I participate in the Copywriting and Mind Warriors forums too. I don't HAVE to give my expertise away. If this is the attitude that prevails here, I won't be staying much longer.
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            • Profile picture of the author David Miller
              @kaniganj -

              "I don't HAVE to give my expertise away. If this is the attitude that prevails here, I won't be staying much longer."

              Over time here in the forum, you and I have agreed and disagreed over many things. The one thing that I think we've always agreed on is that integrity is essential to any level of success. This is as true in the profession of sales as it would be in any profession. Make no mistake about it, sales is a profession.

              If you can show me a born salesman, you'll also have to show me a born doctor, born mechanic, and born seo expert.

              What reactiontm has done, and perhaps he did it without realizing, is crystalize the thinking of many here as to why they feel as the do about sales and salespeople. Thinking back on all the threads and posts about sales, and all the debates about "selling systems" that are designed to hide the fact that there is a sale involved, clearly that must be the prevailing attitude.

              I also don't see where you have tried to turn anyone into a salesperson. The thoughts and ideas that I've seen you share are valuable to those people who already understand sales. Some of them may also have changed the thinking of people who think that sales is about forcing someone to buy something they don't want or need.

              To this point, as you know, I too have come to the conclusion previously that my time is better spent elsewhere. You and I both have memberships in another forum where sales strategies are disussed in a more meaningful way and I'll be spending far more time there from this point forward.

              This isn't about spending more time with people who think the way I do. It's about spending time wisely. Less time spent debating about sales being good or bad karma, and more time spent learning how to do it better and more effectively.

              What many of you who choose to be derisive about sales may never come to understand is that there are about a dozen people in this forum who have, over time, shared more detailed information about sales than you would have received in 100's of over priced and over promised WSO's.

              I've noticed that quite a few of them are rarely seen these days. Perhaps they've realized what I'm just beginning to understand.
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              • Profile picture of the author annieChart
                its very important to make friends in online life
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            • Profile picture of the author reactiontm
              Originally Posted by kaniganj View Post

              Who said I was trying to turn everyone into a salesperson?
              Your stock response to people thinking about whether or not they can sell or considering outsourcing has been to encourage them to continue to try. A recent post was something along the lines of, "Nobody else will have the passion that you do."

              That's all well and good, and I'm certainly glad to see someone encouraging another.

              And I agree with you- almost anyone CAN learn to sell.

              But the urgency... the NEED to learn to sell is simply not there for a lot of folks. Which is why, instead of hanging their hat on the sales aspect, perhaps they should consider getting someone else on the case, or partnering with someone who has more potential/is better suited.

              I've seen numerous people in several industries encouraged to keep going when they should have really faced facts and moved on. Would have saved them a lot of pain, suffering and money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aussieguy
    For me the dilema of different approaches mainly comes down to script / opening. As David Miller points out, any hint of deceptiveness about being a B2B sales call is just plain wrong. I've pointed that out in a few threads now where people seem to almost be bragging about their newfound deceptive technique(!)

    Again, for me the "friendly vs. upfront" style is about just that: 'debating' (trying to work out) which is a better style to approach businesses with (on a cold call) - and nothing to do with ethics (as that's set in stone, for me).

    e.g. There's a difference between:

    "Hi i'm Joe from anonymous webdesign, are you interested in a website?"

    and

    "Hi this is Joe from anonymous webdesign, then a statement on 'who we are' and 'what we do' 'and the resign for my call today.....' (pretty much taken from Tony Robbins).

    and then the more "low key" approaches mentioned elsewhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author terip
    I guess, in my opinion, there is a fine line between being a salesperson over someone who just wants to make friends with other businessmen. There should be a balance between the two, and I guess you could say a bit of timing is involved when to pop the business proposal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Linley
    When I get a referral from a client, the client who refers me never says, he's a great friend and he really cares about me. He says, he does good work and you can count on him to deliver what he promises.
    I totally agree and like that statement! A good salesperson would deliver what he promised and would not mean making friends with clients! One does not need to build a close "social attachment" to prospect in order to close the deal. One should be able to get the prospect's trust and let the client feel that you are a reliable professional. Of course, you need to deliver what the exact same thing you are vending them for you to get their "thumbs up" on you and your products.
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  • Profile picture of the author Green Diamond
    Absolutely true...
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    • Profile picture of the author David Miller
      I'm not sure if it's bad form to bump your own thread, but since I'm not pushing a WSO, it's not hurting anyone.

      Reason for the bump:

      Once again we've got some folks sharing "selling systems" which all seem to share the same premise. That premise being that no one respects salespeople, therefore anything you can do to hide the fact that you're attempting to sell something is a smart selling system.

      Rather than do written battle once again with those who think that deception is a better idea than an honest approach to present a service, this thread has a lot of worthwhile comments.
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  • Profile picture of the author HypeText
    Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

    There's been a lot of back and forth about the desire to make a sale being at cross purposes with what's in the best interest of the prospect.

    The notion seems to be that you can only do one or the other. That if your only intention is to close the deal, than there is no way that you can show that you have concern for the client. I'm going to do my best to try to dispell this nonsense, because the fact is that nothing could be further from the truth once your really understand sales.

    First we have to assume some facts to be understood:

    1. That your product/service is of value and the prospect would benefit by purchasing it.
    2. You prospect is properly qualified as the decision maker.
    3. You as a representative of the product are able to present the features and benefits properly.

    Let's agree that we are speaking with a business owner and the qualifying factors have been met. His concern is that you have something that could increase his profits or reduce his costs. He has no other reason to speak with you, you didn't meet on eHarmony.

    This is the only reason that intelligent business owners make a buying decision. If what you are selling doesn't meet that benchmark, you need to sell something else.

    Keep in mind that this is a conversation. Simply because your goal is to close the deal, it doesn't preclude that you aren't having a conversation about how your product/service will be able to meet the end goal of increasing profit or reducing costs.

    There seems to be the idea that if you are not "making friends" with the prospect, that you are simply delivering a canned presentation of facts and figures. Basically a one-way message ending with "which card will you be using today" and hanging up to dial the next one regardless of the prospects reply. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I will concede that it may be the case if you are selling newspaper subscriptions or setting appointments for home alarm systems, or cemetery plots. But the vast majority of us are selling professional services to business owners and that requires a different skill set.

    Now, all things being equal, if you have shown that your product/service is able to meet a prospects need, if you have provided him with evidence that your proposition is a good choice, if you have answered his objections truthfully, I'm at a lack of understanding as to how I have put my goal to close the deal, ahead of displaying my concern for the prospect.

    Once you have gotten to this point with your prospect, it's your obligation as a professional to close the deal. If you prefer, I can put that in more "huggie feelie" terms, it's your obligation to help make it easy for the prospect to buy.

    If you're of the mindset that after doing your job perfectly the prospect is going to to ask "who should I make the check out to?" ....You're going to be walking away empty handed in just about every instance.

    As salespeople, and as hard as it is for many technoids to admit that's what we are when we're asking someone to buy, it's not our job to make friends. When a business owner gives us an opportunity to have a certain amount of time and attention, he expects to know what it is that you are bringing to the table that will be of value, that's it, nothing else.

    If you have made the case that you can save him money or increase his profits, is there a better time to start doing that than right now?

    You don't have to show every prospect that you can be a good friend. You have to show that you are a good vendor and can be trusted to perform in the manner you've presented.

    I don't have a social relationship with my doctor, dentist, accountant, attorney, or my mechanic. None of them have expressed the interest in having a social relationship with me, nor do I wish to have one with them.

    However, on a professional basis, these are the people who I trust to look out for my health, finances, business, and vehicles. This is the same and preferred relationship that I have with my clients.

    When I get a referral from a client, the client who refers me never says, he's a great friend and he really cares about me. He says, he does good work and you can count on him to deliver what he promises.

    I'm sorry this is such a long post, but I'm quite tired of the characterization that salespeople focused on closing the deal have no concern for the well being of the prospect. These two concepts are not diametrically opposed and if your product/service will put your prospect in a better position, nothing could be further from the truth.
    This sounds VERY similar to what I put on that other thread you and I were commenting on! lol

    But you did a great job expounding on the "Readers digest Version" I had posted...
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  • Profile picture of the author TheeBook
    It's just like making friends to make a sale. ^^
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  • Profile picture of the author reactiontm
    Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

    it's your obligation as a professional to close the deal.
    At the risk of splitting hairs, I'll respectfully disagree on this point, as I agree with most of your post and appreciate your many contributions here.

    Your obligation as a professional is to close a sufficient number of deals to justify your existence and create a profit for the company.

    However, your objective on any given presentation is to determine if what you have to offer is a good fit FIRST, and then only attempt to close if that fit is there.

    As far as this "build a relationship first" dingleberry...

    Fact is, whether your roof's caved in or your basement's flooded or you just need more sales, when you've got a problem to solve, you're not looking for a "friend," you're looking for a SOLUTION.

    And someone providing that solution may become a friend, but that's the last thing on your mind, as a customer.

    There are SO many people on this forum who are more concerned with being liked and soothing their self-esteem than selling something.

    A woman who "befriends" a man just for his money is referred to as a golddigger.

    IMO, "building a relationship" IN ORDER to try to sell something is an even higher level of douchebaggery, as at least the golddigger is offering something of value.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    We HAVE done the be-all, end-all posts...many times. Every month there seems to be a new batch of people, who want instant success with push-button methods. And the Search button is as elusive as ever...
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    It's not a stock response: it's fact.

    And who, starting out, has the budget to be able to afford an effective FT salesperson? Those people won't be working for commission only.

    I often work with small businesses who want to grow. They want to attract a great FT outside salesperson. But they cannot afford one. The good outside salespeople are not going to sign up for $30K + commission. I have to help them get an inside sales hire going to generate the piggybank to afford the outside salesperson after a year or so. It's not easy.

    So if they cannot afford one, what option is left?
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  • Profile picture of the author Hugh
    David,

    The chicken or the egg? After years of B2B sales, my wife shocked
    me with the question "Why are all(sic) your friends people you do
    business with?" Took me a while to answer. But, over time, I found people I could trust, people whose word was gold, people who
    appreciated being treated with respect. I found that I had a lot more
    in common with these business guys than the bozo who just
    happened to buy the house next door.

    I didn't start out looking for friends, just sales. But over time
    the friendship (with some) evolved.

    Hugh
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    "Never make someone a priority in your life who makes you an option in theirs." Anon.
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    • Profile picture of the author David Miller
      I want to try and clear this up, hopefully for the LAST time.

      I never once implied that you couldn't or shouldn't become "friends" with the people that you do business with. Friendships are a natural occurrence that takes place over time for any number of reasons.

      What I AM saying is that to START a business relationship under the guise of friendship is misleading and deceptive.

      The business of business IS business, not making friends. I cannot think think of a single situation where beginning a relationship based on a false premise can result in anything positive.

      These pathetic sales "systems" that use approaches that imply they are there for some other reason than to present their product or service only serve to make it more difficult for those of us who sell with integrity.
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      The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.
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      • Profile picture of the author HypeText
        Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

        I want to try and clear this up, hopefully for the LAST time.

        I never once implied that you couldn't or shouldn't become "friends" with the people that you do business with. Friendships are a natural occurrence that takes place over time for any number of reasons.

        What I AM saying is that to START a business relationship under the guise of friendship is misleading and deceptive.

        The business of business IS business, not making friends. I cannot think think of a single situation where beginning a relationship based on a false premise can result in anything positive.

        These pathetic sales "systems" that use approaches that imply they are there for some other reason than to present their product or service only serve to make it more difficult for those of us who sell with integrity.
        David,

        I know you know this, but it doesnt matter how many times you "RE-Clarify" it, there is ALWAYS going to be someone who just doesnt get it.

        There are always going to be people who think that there really is an "Easy Button"...
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  • Profile picture of the author Hugh
    David,

    Sorry if that was the impression I gave. Not intended.
    As I said, I went there in the first place for the sale.

    Hugh
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    "Never make someone a priority in your life who makes you an option in theirs." Anon.
    "Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon." -- Winston Churchill

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    • Profile picture of the author David Miller
      @Hugh - You didn't give me that impression but someone else looking for a reason to avoid some truth about sales may get that impression. People tend to read and hear what they wish to.

      Here's an analogy that may bring the point to a level that many may understand. It's called the "friendzone" and in the world of relationships, it's most often the place you never want to be.
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      The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.
      -- FRANK SINATRA, quoted in The Way You Wear Your Hat
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      • Profile picture of the author ilovemedia
        In any kind of business, your goal isn't to find friends, but this doesn't mean that you are only for customers as well. You don't build friendships but you do build strong business relationships which goes past the impersonal business-client relationship but stops short of being "buddy buddies". It's tricky to get this just right, but the most important thing to remember is to simply treat people with respect and to know where lines are drawn.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mae Rose
    Of course, I want to make sales! As they often say, business is closed for friendships.
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  • Profile picture of the author rohiteshwar
    Great post! making friend and business is two contradicting words.......
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    I want to make friends when I want to make friends, and I want to make sales when I want to make sales. And I want to make friends with my sales... And I want to make friends who can MAKE sales... And I want To Make Tons of Sales, and I dont want to have to leave my living room to do it.

    How's that for ya?


    Seriously, I try to cover telemarketing from all angles. Some teachings are more hardcore than others and represent different approaches, but in support of David here, this is a recording on this very subject.

    Click Here For A Good Rant/Taking Control of The Direction.

    Sure, be consultative...But "Know what You Sell".
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  • Profile picture of the author razza
    excellent discussion thanks a million
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  • Profile picture of the author kiddoman
    Both of them are important. Really good post, I admire the involved ideas so much.
    Thanks for sharing them.
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    • have to have prospect like you

      "you can't sell a stranger"- IMO

      don't look for a friend
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  • Profile picture of the author Noel Cunningham
    Good discussion going on here... I think it's easier to sell to a prospect if they believe you are giving them value. That doesn't mean you have to be their friend but that you go out of your way (or so it appears) to give a little more...

    Once their on the mailing list and you start building a relationship with them selling will become easier and easier.
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