FRIENDLY: The one nice behaviour that works when it makes work happen

FRIENDLY: The one nice behaviour that works when it makes work happen

A real world sales story that sounds like a fairy tale. A widely admired business leader, entrepreneur and celebrated author has a very special need. Among his cherished possessions is a piece of embroidery from his mother who had inspired him to go, kiss the world. Now he wants that precious memorabilia framed to be preserved. He turns to his favourite favorite photo framer in the city.

And what makes her a favourite? She restores "period furniture and knick-knacks for art lovers” and also frames photos. More important, she’s friendly. In fact friendly to the point where she advises Customers against options on which she could make more money.

So it was with this piece of embroidery. She admires what a precious piece of art it is and tells him that if she frames it, it might last just twenty years. Instead, she advises, why not he take it to the UN recognized art heritage organisation who will restore it to its original glory. Framing it after restoration will make it last much longer.

The author heeds her advice and takes it for restoration. It's months before the art work is restored and returned. The photo framer then takes it up for framing. This story from Subroto Bagchi’s book “Sell: The Art, the Science, the Witchcraft” speaks of how salesmanship can be raised to more than trust and turned into friendship of a very special kind.

The pay off? Effortless selling that feels like a feather in flight at a price you want. “I don’t negotiate with them and I feel as though asking them for a discount would be an insult to the mutual trust we have” Bagchi confesses. And who wouldn’t love to have that kind of Customer and work relationships?

A friendly sales professional is not just a smiling, welcoming, warm person. She’s one who always puts the Customer first. Sales maestros understand the simple truth that Customers are driven subconsciously to buy from salespersons they like. They are aware that sales teams too enjoy working for managers they like. Sales maestros know that likeability flows from friendliness. The 3-2-1 framework below, makes friendliness, a performance differentiator for them.

(A) 3 Friendliness practices – (i) Whether it’s with Customers or people, they listen more than they speak, with genuine interest and curiosity to know all they can about their Customers and sales teams, showing strong empathy for unique needs that come up.

(ii) They put the Customers and their people first. Every time (In the story above the photo framer demonstrated her friendliness by suggesting restoration of the art work first because that was what was best in the interests of the Customer)

(iii) Are consistently positive in conversation and behaviour.

(B) 2 Friendliness benefits – They reap the 2 long term benefits of being friendly: Charisma + Credibility, both of which translate into superior sales conversions and team performance

(C) 1 Friendliness caveat – They distinguish the fine dividing line between ‘being friendly’ and ‘being a friend’. Customers and teams may see them as friends. But sales maestros never lose sight of their professional boundaries of being friendly with their Customers or people. So, they observe ‘professional distancing” and don’t allow their private selves to get mixed up with work. And they never take their Customers or teams for granted

So here’s the well kept secret of sales maestros who have turned selling into a work of art - Friendly salespeople build resilient sales relationships because their Customers don’t want to buy from anyone else!

Pause to reflect: “Sales maestros understand the simple truth that Customers are driven subconsciously to buy from salespersons they like. They know that likeability flows from friendliness”

Action Question: What are 3 new ways in which you can use friendliness practices to build charisma and credibility?

Related Readings: Mercuri Mail snippet on Sales Ikigai in action

Takeaway Quote: “Be friendly first. Service starts with a friendly person with a friendly smile, who offers friendly words first. How friendly are you?” ― Jeffrey Gitomer

About the series: This is the 58th in a series of 100 Posts that seek to build your #Sales Resilience.. as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.


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61.FAIR: Businesses employ people. Leaders enhance their employability

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