The Like Factor

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I’ve found a frequent misconception with many sales people and their management is the desire to be sure the prospect “likes” them.

It’s an issue we often face when working with clients to help them accelerate revenue on a sustainable basis. People have for too long espoused the theory that people buy from those they “like”  — little could be further from the truth.

People buy from people they have confidence in and in whose judgment they trust.  They buy from people in whom they believe can meet and even add value to their requirements, offering them a solution that is better than they originally expected.

This is the real role of an expert salesperson — to deliver a solution that exceeds the customers’ expectations and provide them with a solution better then they knew existed.

It really doesn’t matter if it’s a retail environment or a sophisticated commercial transaction, the goal of sales should be the same, to provide a solution that exceeds the customers’ expectations/requirements.

The “like” thing may very well happen sometimes, but a “professional” is what the customer wants, not a friend! 

Salespeople who focus on the “like” message, rather that the product/solution that their organization is delivering, begin efforts to get the customer to like them, and then the lunches and golf outings and all those activities that have little to do with actually closing the deal start.

The corollary is true as well, when the prospect finally comes to believe he does have a special “friendship” with the  salesperson, and when the circumstances change for whatever reason, and the sale is not made, the prospect feels he’s been abandoned or the overtures of friendship were hollow or self-serving, and that creates even more issues.

I see this frequently in the banking world, as an example, and when the terms of the loan are changed, or new covenants are imposed, the customer can’t figure out why his “good friends” at his bank is now “distant” or is treating him so poorly.

The best way to avoid these complications it to not engage in them in the first place.  Be the professional sales person that you are and concentrate on providing your prospect with the best & most cost-effective solution that you can … the rest will take care of itself.

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