Connect with Your Customers

Published: September 20, 2005


“The greatest salespeople I know are relationship-building people who make emotional connections and get to the bottom of what the client needs.”

This is the belief of speaker, consultant and author Richard Abraham, who can sum up this sales technique in one word — shmoozing.

In his book, Mr. Shmooze: The Art and Science of Selling Through Relationships, Abraham uses a character that is a composite of people he’s met throughout his life.

There is a difference between what Abraham calls clinical networking, or brief, non-personal connections, and shmoozing. Shmoozing is constantly thinking of what you can do to help your customers.

In the book, Abraham illustrates how this attitude should taken not just with your clients, but with the valet, secretary or restaurant staff. Engage them in conversation to make a connection and if they go out of their way for you, say to make sure you have a specific table for a meeting with a client, reciprocate with a small token of your appreciation.

“If you are disciplined about doing it, make giving a philosophy; it’s like spreading good will,” he said. “People gravitate toward that.”

While technology can facilitate easier communication, it can also detract from understanding your client.

“E-mail tends to make people believe they’re making emotional connections, but they really aren’t,” Abraham said.

Even though shmooze can sometimes be synonymous with sleaze, Abraham said that manipulation and deceptiveness are not the intent of his message.

“Selling is not about manipulating or talking or even persuading,” he said. “It’s about giving . . . when you help others, they want to help you in return.

“You’ll not only find that it’s profitable, it’s rewarding on a very deep and personal level. There’s no better way to live.”

Reach Katie Grasso at (856) 486-2478 or


Figure out what really matters to the prospect. It usually has nothing to do with the business at hand.

Be alert — you’ll find clues in their office or in things they bring up in casual conversation.

You can shmooze without spending a fortune. Do your follow-up shmoozing immediately.