“Hey, Greg,” called Janet when she saw him walk through the office door at ten o’clock, “late night partying again?”
“Lovely Janet,” he responded with a grin, “as you well know, I was working last night until one am.”
“Sure,” she replied, viewing the pile of new referrals on her desk, “and I suppose you have no time for these?”
“Oh, my goodness,” he said, feigning surprise, “more ‘Press one to leave a message’ and if I’m lucky enough to talk to a human, ‘He’s not in… May I take a message’. What do I do with this?” He swept his hand as if to push the pile into the trash can.
“Greg, these need to be called. Everyone else has taken their share.”
“Janet, I don’t need the dregs. Last night I was at Mr. O’Donnell’s dinner party. Of course, I had my endless supply of good humor and made at least five or six excellent contacts.”
“So is Mr. O’Donnell ever going to buy?” she innocently asked, having heard about him now for six months.
He looked at her for a moment and then answered, “When we get down to business in the next couple of weeks, I have no doubt. As will the others.”
“So how much socializing have you done this week?” she asked, emphasizing “this week.”
“Well, due to my wit, I’ve been out every night. In fact, tomorrow I’m having lunch at the country club, courtesy of Jerry Garcia.”
“He hasn’t bought anything in a year; why waste your time?”
“Oh Janet, that’s why I’m in sales, and you are here. When Jerry is ready, he will. My time with him tomorrow is an investment in my future earnings. Besides, we both like sailing. He’s asked for my advice on a new boat.”
“That’s really super,” she answered. “Do you want these new referrals or should I divvy them up?”
“Do with the dregs as you please. I need to get a sailing magazine and do some research. Catch you later.”
Everyone thinks Greg is just a terrific guy, with the possible exception of Janet. Is Greg getting business? Maybe. Is Greg getting invited to socialize? All the time.
There is a difference between having a social relationship with someone and having a business relationship with someone. High income salespeople understand that a business relationship can be conducted in a socially correct manner. And at the same time, they also understand it is not a social relationship. They don’t try to turn one into another.
Most salespeople want everyone to like them, believing that if they are liked, a sale will result. This is not why a sale is made. A sale is made because what the person bought from you solves a problem he has. Your job is to find out the problem, not tell him how much you like being around him. If the person respects you, it just makes it easier to part with the money. Remember, solving a customer’s problem makes you money. Having the customer like you is nice, but it’s not going to make you money.
Consider two different salespeople. The first knows and thoroughly understands how to solve the problem you are having; yet, you also know that you’d never want to have him at a party. He just doesn’t fit in. The second one has little if any idea of what your solution should be, but is someone that would be a great guest at your next party.
On a purely business relationship basis, which one is going to get your business? Why?
Understand what your role is in the business relationship with a customer or prospect. You are only there to solve a problem for the person and make money. This is not a crass statement. In a business relationship, a business person expects to pay for delivery of a product or service. While he may not like the price, he knows he has to pay to get what he wants. If you try to turn a business relationship into a social relationship, you are not acting in the manner expected.
Behaving in a socially correct manner is appropriate, but you are not in the relationship to make friends. You’ve heard the phrase, “Never sell something to a friend because when you do, the friendship is over.” The same applies in reverse, “Never buy from a friend.”
Know what your role is in a business relationship and stick to it.