Sales is not without its share of wives tales or empty sayings, passed down from one generation of sales people to the next. Some are considered universal, despite the fact that it has been a long time since they related to anything in specific to selling consistently and successfully. But they sound good, and you generally get “bonus” points for saying them in the right discussion, on social media or sales seminars. In most instances, these are completely wrong, or off the mark, but go undisputed because they have taken cultural roots in the sales mythology.
One of these is the notion that “people buy from people they like”, which is not true at all. We have all bought from people we did not necessarily like or would want to spend time with outside the business at hand. What people really mean is that “people buy from people they trust”, but many sellers have difficulty building trust, and have a much easier time “getting liked”. Some are good at being likeable, others go to the most common denominator and resort to buying adoration. One fellow I was discussing the issue with this week, offered this when I asked him how his team achieves being liked: “a couple reps taking prospects to the Giants Rockies game on Thursday couple reps taking prospects to the Giants Rockies game on Thursday”. Gee, what do you do in non-Major League towns?
This is no different than the reps that say, “I’ll bring the coffee, how do you take it”, rather than dealing directly with objections or giving a sound reason to a buyer for meeting.
Sure it is effective, it perhaps gave you an illusion of being liked, until someone more “likeable” comes along. You don’t know how many times I speak to reps who lost existing accounts who say, “I thought he liked me”; sure he did till someone more likeable came along.
Instead, if you know how to grow, build, and maintain trust, you will gain a more solid foundation for a business relationship. And that is what we are dealing with a business relationship, if you are trustworthy in the way you do business, in how you help them reach their objectives, you will be on a much safer ground than if you pretend they like you. There are people we all trust that may not be at the top of our “like” list; but they are at the very top of the reliability list, capability list, straight intentions list, and so on.
If you're interested in starting to work on your trust index, there are a lot of options, I would recommend you start with Charles H. Green and work from there.
I have had clients who I knew did not like me in any particular way, but when it came to giving recommendation to others, and relying on for honest advice and helping their business, I have been their go-to person for years, because they trust me, and relied on the kind of work I do.