So you are in the market for a printer at work. You arrange to have a few salespeople come in and talk about their products. You find out there are any number of good printers out there, all with decent warranties and service follow ups. But one of the programs stands out. Why?
Because the salesperson is your friend. You have hung out together. Maybe played a little golf together. And last Christmas he was the only one who remembered you are a bass fisherman and he sent you a neat book on fishing for bass in the Wisconsin lakes. It was not so much the book . . . you have a ton of them . . . it was the thought and the fact that he listened well and cared enough to do something about it. Are you going to buy his printer if it is a lower quality product or if it is too expensive? No. But are you going to give him a little more attention, maybe allow him to work on his terms and did you remember to call him in the first place because he is your friend? You are darn right you did.
How many of your customers can you call your friend? All of them? Most of them? A few of them? Here is the problem . . . if he/she is not your friend, chances are he is somebody else’s friend in your product category. Somebody who is out hustling you, out thinking you and, yes, out shmoozing you, which is really unfortunate because while you cannot control many things in sales, you can absolutely control how hard you are working on developing relationships . . . and friends.
The next time an opportunity comes up and you make a great proposal with your best pricing and cannot figure out why you did not get the business, you may get the answer when you spot your “would be customer” and his friend at the ball game together.
I know . . . Sales 101 . . . but we can all use a reminder that if we don’t shmooze, we lose, even Mr. Shmooze. So pardon me while I make a few calls.
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