Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friends Must Be Approached with Caution When It Comes to Turning Them into Customers

I am a big believer that many customer relationships can end up turning into some wonderful friendships as you go through your sales career. Hey, when it comes to referrals, these friendships are vital to your future business. As you grow in your sales career and come into contact with many other business people, you will also be able to refer people to some of your top customers to enhance their business as well.

What I have a problem with, however, is when you go after a friend's business the same way you would any other prospect (what I am specifically talking about here is an existing friendship that was developed before entering your sales career). This will make you seem very petty, and will be perceived in most cases as leveraging pressure on your friendship in order to make a sale. Not only could you lose a friend, but you won't get the sale either.

There’s nothing wrong with doing business with friends and family, but you must approach each of these situations with caution. Make clear what you do for a living. Maybe even tell them if they ever need anything you can cut them a good deal, but always let them know in a subtle way that you are friends first. Take the pressure off, and let them come to you. Believe me, if they know what you do for a living and understand it could benefit them, they will certainly make a move in your direction at some point. Never push business on a friend in any shape, matter, or form, unless the friendship is of mild consequence to you.

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