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Don’t Act Like a Seller, Think Like a Buyer! How To Have Good And Effective Business Relationships

Don’t Act Like a Seller, Think Like a Buyer

Chapter 8: How To Have Good And Effective Business Relationships

When I ask senior managers how effective

and positive business relationships play

in the work of salespeople,

they tell me they are extremely important.

But when I asked them how to train their employees

to build relationships

with people they don’t regularly interact with,

the managers replied that they didn’t train at all.

This is what got me thinking:

if building good business relationships is so crucial,

we should have learned how to do it.

I have emphasized that salespeople

need three things to be successful:

the right mindset,

effective sales methods,

and strong business relationships.

Without those three elements,

it is difficult,

if not impossible,

to exploit the full potential of your business.

In previous chapters,

we have discussed the role of DELTA thinking

and business processes.

And since relationships play

such an important role in business,

how do you plan to build them effectively?

As a salesperson,

your work will progress if you know how to improve

and expand your network of relationships

with current

and future customers

(as well as with colleagues, managers, etc.) ,

and other characters important to your success).

If you have been constantly cultivating good relationships

with all the important people in your work,

you will surely achieve more success in your career.

On the other hand,

failure is inevitable.

When your relationships with clients,


or directors don’t go very well,

your business career will immediately take a hit

(not to mention your personal life).

Proactive, systematic,

and purposeful building of business relationships

is a skill that can be learned by anyone.

I’ve been training salespeople in these skills for years,

and I guarantee they’ll work.

It’s a fairly easy process to grasp,

like applying it to a loved one;

So if you have a close friend

or precious life partner,

you already know in your mind what that process entails.

Follow the process described here,

and your business

and personal relationships are sure to improve

I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times with salespeople

without I manage or consult.

Experience shows that the people

who are best at this are the ones

who take the initiative to do it.

But sadly,

most people approach relationships the other way around.

A strong and positive relationship changes the dynamics

between you and others.

When that relationship weakens,

if your client says,

“I can’t talk to you today,”

it’s likely to mean ”

I don’t want to see you anymore.”

But if your relationship is good,

the sentence “I can’t talk to you today” simply means

“I can’t talk to you today”.

You know very well that

there is no negative connotation behind that statement,

because your relationship

with the customer is going very well.

You know people don’t mean to reject you.

You also know that next week people might be willing

to spend an hour talking to you,

if necessary.

Identical words carry completely different meanings,

depending on the quality of each relationship.

If you have a good business relationship,

you will have a productive environment in which

both you and your customers feel safe sharing the truth

with each other.

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look,

but don’t tell you what to see.” –Alexandra K. Trenfor



There are five levels of positive relationships

you can establish with others

We call it the Relationship Tower

because there are so many people,

millions and millions of people,

people you don’t even know your name,

that form the bottom of the pyramid;

Meanwhile, at the top of the tower

there are only a few,

far fewer people who value your relationship with you.

Going from the bottom of the tower

to the level of people

who know your name is a relatively easy job.

And the best way for people to know your name,

as you probably already know,

is to know and call them correctly.

The next level includes people

who know your name

and have feelings for you.

When you visit or are around them,

they don’t annoy you and don’t annoy you.

You are not very close to them,

but they still open the door

to allow you to get closer to them.

The third level consists of friendly people.

They are willing to talk to you

about topics other than business.

They might talk about a football game

or plan a weekend getaway.

At this level,


whom we meet

(except perhaps family members).

To do a good job,

you should tell yourself that you are trying your best.

If you haven’t really tried your best,

chances are you won’t feel

as respectful

of yourself as you should either.

In that case,

do what is necessary

to improve the situation.

Try to correct what you did wrong,

but don’t overreact just

because you made a mistake.

Never lie.

Try to keep your promise.

Do what you say you will,

and accept that everything you do is done.

You also need to think well of others,

even if they don’t seem very pleasant on the surface.

I remember when

I was a county manager

for a pharmaceutical company,

I had to compete with Dick McDonald,

who was also a manager in Detroit at the time.

I never wanted to touch this guy

because I thought we were two completely different people.

We differ in both our likes and dislikes.

Moreover, we are in competition with each other,

we are both district managers,

both want the highest market share in our area,

and both want to be promoted.

At the time I felt it was a natural rivalry

among colleagues in any business,

but my feeling about it must have been unhealthy.

One day, during a conversation,

my boss casually mentioned Dick McDonald.

I blurted out,

“I don’t like that Dick McDonald guy.

He’s just a silly father!”

The boss said,

“That’s an interesting look.”

He thought for a moment,

then continued,

“This is what I want you to do,

now go to Detroit and spend

a whole day with Dick McDonald.

When you get here,

I want you to give me a report on the reasons

why you have a crush on Dick McDonald.”

I said it was impossible.

He kept saying,

“I don’t care if it’s possible,

you’ll have to do it.”


I picked up the phone to call Dick McDonald,

pretending to announce that

I was going to Detroit to consult

with him on possible ways

to sell to a certain number of customers,

and I arranged a date with him.

When I was with Dick McDonald,

I discovered that we had more in common than I thought.

He also values family values (like me),

loves his friends and associates (like me),

and has a unique sense of humor.

I discovered that up

to now I had not fully appreciated his sense of humour.

I also discovered that he was a man of integrity,


and character.

Indeed, recognizing someone’s integrity by appearance

(especially when we think that person is a bad guy) is not easy at all.

When I saw how Dick McDonald worked

and interacted with others,

I knew he was a very influential person.

Looking back at Dick’s profile,

I learned that he not only had outstanding personal achievements,

but also regularly promoted many people

who went on to become very successful leaders.

Thanks to the boss of the company

who forced me to look at Dick McDonald

with objective eyes

and tried to get rid of my prejudices,

I began to see Dick as he really was,

not as I had imagined.

By the end of the day,

I had developed a crush on Dick McDonald,

though he hadn’t changed at all.

When I got to Detroit,

I had no choice

but to try to figure out what made me like Dick.

And since then,

I have found in him things

that not only make me feel

but also admire.

Dick McDonald is no longer a bad guy in my eyes.

After that day, I felt very comfortable

when I had the opportunity

to collaborate on joint projects with Dick McDonald,

and I was also more receptive to his ideas

when we worked together.

When I left the company,

Dick was one of the few colleagues

with whom I still maintain a close relationship.

That relationship continues to this day.

This is not to say that

every time we have the right mindset,

we will find people who are ready

to respond to our relationships.

While the relationship-building

I’m describing here is highly effective most of the time,

anywhere, for most people,

not everyone is successful.

(Some potential customers are

so biased against salespeople that

they can’t recognize any genuine help,

even if it’s right in front of them.)

However, you still have the ability

to build solid business relationships,

and get rewarded,

as the following experience of Anthony Yim.

Anthony was working

for a company providing a global telecommunications network

when he received a phone call

from a religious nonprofit

with its headquarters in Italy.

The caller told him that

the organization was present all over the world,

so they were very interested

in a global telecommunications network of their own.

This person still has it

I added that he was going to New York next month

and wanted to arrange a meeting

to exchange business.

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman,

not the attitude of the prospect.” –William Clement Stone

When we met,

the potential customer described in detail

what his organization needed.

“Suddenly I came to my senses,” said Anthony Yim,

“This could be a very big deal.”

Still, there was a problem:

the people in charge of his organization didn’t like too much change,

and so he had to convince all of them.

“The things he said about his project sounded very interesting,”

recalls Anthony,

“My company was a great fit for his intentions,

so it was almost a clear project.

But the thing is,

instead of thinking about this deal

and what we’re about to sell,

I’m absorbed in the story and its setting.

I forgot I was doing a deal,

and was obsessed with partnering

with this man

to try to create something he could sell

within his organization.

As a result, we have built a relationship

that is very different from the ones

I usually have with other clients.”

Finally, after a promising initial meeting,

the person who contacted Anthony returned to Italy.

Time past.

Anthony calls his potential clients once a month

and sends emails a few times.

Anthony decided to spend more time helping

the prospective client understand more about his company,

which was then the fourth

or fifth largest in its field.

Anthony said,

“Our company is not the kind of failed company that people turn to

when they can’t decide for themselves,

so I decided to invest the time in helping him understand

what we are who,

and what we can do.”

In addition,

Anthony decided not only

to set his company apart from others,

but also to set himself apart from others.

He asked himself,

“How am I going to do this?

Well, continue to be interested in his situation,

learn as much as you can about what he wants to do,

and provide him with information

and support when needed.”

Months passed without any tangible progress,

and Anthony began to feel suspicious.

“When people tell you

they’re having trouble getting a project going,

or aren’t sure if they’ll be able

to raise the budget,

those are ‘red’ signals.

But I still find a way to stay in touch

and ‘put my personal stamp’ on it.

For example,

I not only sent him a white paper network data strategy,

but also wrote him an entire page summarizing my thoughts on how

to improve his situation.

I hope you feel that I really care

and think a lot about your case,

and not just casually send you an email attachment for research.”

Time passes, and finally interesting things happen.

The prospect started calling

for advice on what to do next.

Up to this point,

things progressed as if Anthony’s company had become a consulting firm.

In addition, this customer also began to want

to know more about the company’s other products.

“He used to call and ask,

‘Do you think this product is necessary for us?

I think like this…’

So one idea spawned another,

and the deal that started

with just two products ended up being a deal

to buy nine products.”

Anthony finds himself working as a consultant.

He is confident that he relies on relationships

and meaningful exchanges,

making sure a contract is signed no matter what.

“The hours ordinary people waste,

extraordinary people leverage.” –Robin Sharma

Thanks to his connections,

Anthony was able to recommend many other products of the company

and was able to send others from the company

to visit potential customers in Italy.

The first phone conversation occurred in June,

and at Christmas the customer suddenly called Anthony again.

He excitedly announced that

he had received the organization’s approval

to proceed with the project.

“So suddenly I got the job done,” Anthony confided,

“I patiently invested my time.

If it had been another employee,

he would have turned away and said,

‘This guy’s not going to buy or sell.’

I’ve invested my time in cultivating a relationship with him,

helping him understand my company,

and better understand my own situation.

As the deal drew to a close,

I had to pinch myself

to make sure it wasn’t a dream.

No one had ever had such a close business relationship

with someone who had not yet become an official customer.

No one has ever sold all the products in the company’s product system

at the same time

to the same partner.

Well, no one has ever done anything like it.

Even me, since that time until now,

I have never been able to repeat that feat.”

Thus, Anthony’s way of thinking in establishing

and maintaining relationships

with customers eventually became the factor

that created great change

and brought a great brand.

huge deal for your company.

Your way of thinking

– what you think

– is the starting point for all great relationships that follow.

“Knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is …” – Paul Chek



To get to the top of the relationship pyramid

and build strong relationships,

you need to know how to ask questions

that ordinary salespeople rarely ask.

You need to think about things other salespeople

don’t usually think about.

Most sales people rarely pay attention

to the 13 basic things about people

that research has outlined:

1. People pay less attention to you,

your hobbies

and interests than to themselves,

their hobbies and interests.

2. Most people aspire to achieve two things in life:

success and happiness.

3. In general, everyone has a desire

to become important figures.

4. They want to be acknowledged

and appreciated.

5. They want you to listen to them with all your attention.

6. They will contact you again

if they feel you really appreciate them.

7. Most people make decisions emotionally,

but they use reason to defend them.

8. For the average person,

the amount of time one can focus their attention

on something is usually very short.

9. People with common interests have a natural empathy.

10. People often want others to understand them.

11. People tend to lean towards those who care about them.

12. Most people like to “teach” others.

13. People often turn to

people they believe can help them in some aspect of their lives.

It should be noted that

not all of the above apply to everyone;

furthermore, to different people

they may be true to varying degrees.

Many people assume that to most people,

these things are usually true,

but to themselves they don’t seem to be accurate at all.

It is clear that there are some people

(like your mother, or your partner)

who care deeply about you,

your thoughts and concerns.

But in general,

most other people are more concerned

with themselves than with you.

You will make yourself stand out

and build a good relationship

when you care about others more than you care about yourself.

In addition,

it is also important to understand

that each person has their own definition

of success and happiness.

For this person,

success means owning a nice big house or a luxury car;

to the other,

success means teachings;

and for the third person,

success means working for a non-profit organization.

But in general,

the above 13 personality traits are the fulcrum

for you to start your work.

The lesson here is

that if it’s not right for you,

it’s right for someone else.

In Winning People’s Hearts,

Dale Garnegie writes,

“In just two months,

by showing interest in others,

you will gain more than in two years just trying

to figure out how to make others care about you. ”

(1) Therefore, you must try

to understand the way other people think

I give 13 personality traits above,

the purpose is for you to know how

to think like other people think.

It should also be noted that

you can only advance in the Relationship Tower

when you have a pure,

sincere mind.

If you don’t truly appreciate other people,

don’t genuinely want to know about them

and their lives,

you will never reach the threshold

from which they begin to appreciate your relationship with you.

If you don’t genuinely care about others,

they’ll quickly see you as a hypocrite,

and as a result,

they won’t respect you

or want to have a relationship with you.

Remember that everyone has an invisible line tattooed on them:

Make me feel important.

Psychologists have all told us that the deepest desire

in human nature is to want

to be important in the eyes of others.

That is the most intense,

most pressing “abiotic hunger” of each of us.

We want to meet,

to work,

to live with people who make us see our worth.

Just make me feel important,

maybe I’ll like you.

I will listen to what you say.

I would love to buy your products.

And to make me feel important,

all you have to do is listen to me.

Just let me talk.

Don’t talk about yourself,

talk about me.

Pay attention to me.

Learn something from me.

Do something special for me.

I want to achieve something.

I want to be special,

and you can help me make that happen.

“Selling is really about having conversations with people

and helping improve their company or their life.” –Lori Richardson



As I mentioned in Chapter 5,

you need to ask questions

to make sure your product

or service is the right fit

for your customer’s needs.

You also need to ask questions

to find out what people value most,

and that’s Step 2 in the relationship-building process.

When you find out what other people value,

you are building business relationship.

I have noticed salespeople who,

even though they agree with what I say,

still don’t know how to ask the right questions.

The purpose of questioning is

to uncover common ground

– mutual friends,


common interests,

common concerns.

If you see nothing in common,

and the other person is

only interested in things you know very little about,

then you need to learn those things from that person.

Most of us find ourselves interesting

(even those who consider themselves boring)

and are happy when others find us interesting.

Most of us have stories of our own experiences

and would love to share them

– stories of our successes or failures

– but very few of us have the opportunity

to find good listeners.

If you know how to ask open-ended questions

and appear to be a good listener

– it can’t be faked

– you’re bound to build solid business relationships.

However, until you know

what the other person values most

and process the information in a way

that shows you care about it,

the third step in the process,

you’re at a dead end.

People can be quite friendly,

but that’s not enough.

They don’t share their concerns with you.

They don’t listen to you the way people

who know and trust you do.

By their very nature,

business relationships are often more difficult

to initiate than personal relationships.

When you meet someone in private,

you and that person usually have some things in common.

Maybe two people have the same interests,

the same political views,

the same beliefs.

It is also possible

that you both live in the same neighborhood,

attend the same church,

or be invited to the same party.

But in your work,

when you meet someone,

you often don’t know

if you have anything in common with that person.

You don’t know the criteria of the company the person represents.

You walk into a meeting

with your mind like a blank sheet of paper,

and you have to go through all your doubts

and doubts to find the human factors that bring you

and those people together.

Therefore, finding out what is important

to others must be the focus,

and learning it from themselves is essential.

When someone is willing to communicate directly with you,

that’s when a dynamic begins to emerge

and accelerate the relationship between the two.

That’s why the raw information you get

from a trade magazine,

from gossip,

or even from a potential customer’s best friend

is not as important

as the information you hear

from them spoken by his own mouth.

It’s the self-talk that makes the difference.

During the training sessions,

when I was doing exercises on the technique

of opening a conversation,

I noticed that everyone talked about me very enthusiastically.

They laughed and joked

and exchanged freely.

The encouragement that comes

when two people have a conversation is far more important

than simply knowing someone loves golf

or graduated from Virginia Military Institute (VMI).

Use questions like the following

to generate those positive sentiments:

° What do you usually do in your free time?

° Which school did you attend

(and why did you choose it)?

° Where did you grow up,

what was it like to grow up there?

° How was your high school?

° When you have time,

what kind of books do you usually read?

° How did you decide on a career

(no matter what the person does.)

° Tell me about your family.

° Where do you like to go on vacation the most?

° Is there a type of vacation that you really like but haven’t gone yet?

° Do you have time to join any social organizations?

° Do you play any sports?

° If you were given a ticket to a certain show,

what program would it be?

° Why did you decide to live here?

° What do you really want to do

but don’t have enough time to do?

° Tell me something about you that will surprise me.

These questions are the way to start a conversation,

and the answers may

– or certainly

– lead you to other questions.

Note that, like other good questions,

designed to extract information,

the questions above are suggestive in nature.

Either answer is correct,

because the main purpose is

to provide an opportunity

for others to express themselves.

And when people talk to you,

you have the opportunity to discover what

is really important to them,

and if there are any common interests

between you and them.

At this point, you shouldn’t be asking about the customer’s job,

designing products

or finding technical solutions to their problems,

even if that’s part of the sales process.

At this point we can’t expect

to have a new friend either,

although it is very likely to happen.

What’s important here is

to start a business relationship,

and do it that in a fun way.

Some people you meet

while working may not feel comfortable talking about anything personal.

But that’s okay,

you can tell by their reaction:

they usually just want

to talk about technical matters.

To successfully build a business relationship,


you need to know what is most important

to the person you’re talking to.

You can open up by asking good questions

and listening actively

and attentively.

Question “What do you usually do in your spare time?”

much more effective than

“Do you have any pastimes?”

The first reason is that

many people have no pastime at all,

or if they do,

they don’t call it a hobby.

The second reason is that

when not working,

everyone is doing something.

(And if people tell you they’re always busy

with their work,

that admission means a lot.)

What they do in their spare time can give you a glimpse

of how they feel about their work.

They hate work,

see work only as a means

to nurture other activities

that are not within the scope of work;

Or they love their work

and may one day run an entire company.

Their after-school activities also speak

to their family life,

social relationships,

and even their ambitions.

If you’re sure the person went to college,

you can ask,

“Which university did you go to

and why did you choose it?”

If you don’t know if people have attended college,

you can ask,

“Where did you go to school before?”

People who went

to college will usually tell you the name of the school.

But if you’re not sure,

don’t be so quick to guess that people go to college,

especially those who are overly sensitive

to the fact that they’ve never been to college.

You should pay attention not only

to things that are about to happen,

but also to things that have just happened.

If your client just spent two weeks on vacation in Bali,

this is your chance

to ask about the trip

(and learn more about Bali).

Why did you choose to go to Bali?

What do you like most about Bali?

Are you going back there?

You should listen attentively

so that you can continue

to ask relevant questions.

Brainstorm and organize the questions,

but don’t write them down.

Don’t think, okay,

what’s the next question?…

you should listen actively to what people are saying.

Questions like the ones I suggest here are designed

to keep others open.

And once the person starts talking,

you need to do two basic things:

a genuine interest

and a natural curiosity about the other person.

If you are genuinely interested and naturally curious,

the next questions will come easily to you.

Remember, even if you already have information,

you still need to ask to give people a chance to speak.

There’s a boost to the interaction,

when people tell you what they like.

That encouragement will make people like you more

and will see you in a different light,

because when you encourage them

to talk about themselves

you help them feel more in love with themselves.

When you ask questions,

you are learning about the activities,

dreams, and goals that people cherish.

If you encourage people

to talk about the values they hold dear,

whether personal or professional,

you’ve already begun

to build a positive business relationship.

But again, please remember,

do not subjectively predict

or assume that you can infer what they value.

Ask questions that will help you be sure

what people consider important,

both in their personal

and professional lives.

For work, you might want to know what your clients

and their companies are trying to achieve.

Here are some job-related questions:

° Do you have any difficulties in your work

that I or my company can help you with?

° What is the biggest problem at your current job?

° In your opinion,

what qualities should a senior sales representative have?

° If all jobs paid the same salary,

and you could start from scratch,

what would you do?

If you know the other person well,

they will tell you almost everything.

I sometimes ask clients how other people rate their work.

If they are criticized in an area

where you can contribute,

you can certainly help them do their part better,

and it will also benefit you.

Summarize the information you gather

from the questions to include in the meeting,

creating momentum to build a relationship.

If I know that the other person’s company is planning to expand,

I can recommend equipment suppliers,

candidates for job positions,

or other possible sources of production loans.

To know what is important to others,

you must ask the right questions.

There are hundreds of questions you can ask,

and once people start

to answer what is important,

you have to immediately think of other questions.


once people have shown you what they value most,

you can plan thoughtful

and impartial actions

to show that the person is important to you.



The third factor in building a strong business relationship

is what you actually do.

Business relationships are not built on thinking

or on mere information,

but on action.

People judge us by our actions that are consistent,


and logical,

and by that come to a conclusion what kind of person we are.

That’s why everything you do

and all the relationships you have is so important.

When and only

when your series of decisive,


and consistent actions shows people

that you are the person they need a relationship with,

can you climb to the top

of the relationship pyramid with them.

Good relationships only exist

when people trust you

and feel close to you.


your goal when establishing business relationships is

to make your customers

and potential customers feel close

to you and trust you.

To win their trust,

you must show them professionalism,


dedication to your work,

as well as your knowledge


integrity, caring, knowledge).

Professionalism is reflected in the way

you do what has to be done.

Those are the skills, abilities,

and character that people would expect of you,

if you’re really the kind of person

who knows how to do your job well.

Having integrity means possessing

and upholding high ethical principles,

or professional standards,

or both.

Knowledge comes from what you know

and how you share it with others.

Professionalism or expertise,


or work ethic,

and knowledge are characteristics

that vary according to the nature of the job.

An engineer,

a pharmaceutical agent,

or an accountant may have different types of knowledge,


and work ethic.

But dedication to work,

by contrast,

is not unique to any profession.

If your actions demonstrate

that you are truly dedicated to your job,

it’s not just about the level of expertise

or requirements people put you on the job.

When you demonstrate your dedication,

you will draw others closer to you,

and if at the same time you demonstrate your expertise,

work ethic, and knowledge,

you’ve done everything,

to be able to build relationships.

You will have to demonstrate enthusiasm

and concern for others

by taking unexpected,

inexpensive but well-thought-out actions,

based on the information people have shared with you.

When you show people,

not once but many times,

that you care about them

– their feelings, aspirations, and dreams

– you show that you are a caring person.

Your actions say something very important:

you listened to them,

and they matter to you.

It also shows

that you are not like most other business people;

And that’s always a big goal.

However, to build a relationship,

just knowing about the values that

the partner values is not enough.

Asking questions only gives you information.

To truly develop a relationship,

you must act on that information,

both physically and with your own actions.

I don’t mean the traditional “business gifts” here like golf balls,

pens, pocket watches

or coffee mugs

with company logos on them.

I also don’t mean dinner parties,

after-golf treats,

or weekend getaways.

But as a generous businessman

(which may well be the practice in your company),

there are times

when you want

to give your customers a relatively expensive gift,

but they,

for various reasons,

Due to law

or company policy,

cannot accept.

If in doubt, check with human resources

(or a company attorney).

Since the people you want to do business

with are also individual individuals,

I can’t list you the surefire things you can do for them.

I could give some principles and examples,

but since every human being is a world of its own,

I cannot make an overarching suggestion.

Building strong business relationships

requires you to be nimble

at both the information people tell you

and the opportunities

to show you’re listening.

Here are some initial suggestions

to help you show your clients

or potential customers that you value them.

Remember important dates,




important events,


special interests,

names of schools they attended,

favorite foods

most, and many more.

For different individuals,

important dates are also different,

but as a general rule for most people the important dates that

they always remember are birthdays

or wedding anniversaries.

Other important dates can be the founding date of the company,

the new day in the company,

the day of receiving the university diploma

or any other meaningful day that repeats once a year in life.

Once you’ve determined

which day is important,

mark it on a calendar,

and then when that day comes,

do something about it.

You can do this with a phone call,

a greeting card,

a cake, a special meal,

but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

If you know that the person likes

to have his birthday known to more people,

let everyone involved know that the day is coming.

Important names include the names of children,


and relatives.

For most of us,

few things in the world are more important than our children.

Every time you work with someone,

be sure to ask about their children

to find out how old they are,

what grade they are in,

what sports they like to play,

and what other activities they have.

Find out what interests they have,

some of which are similar to your children’s,

or even yours,

your spouse’s.

And one more thing

– a very important thing

– is to write it down so you don’t forget it.

Here’s a story about John,

my finance officer:

One Saturday in mid-December,

I was in a bakery with my four-year-old son

when the phone rang.

John called.

He asked what I was doing.

I said I just finished lunch.

He asked me again if my boy had taken a picture with Santa.

I said not yet.

John said that we should go to a furniture store

with a close friend of his.

This friend invited a Santa Claus

to her store one Saturday during the Christmas season,

and invited her customers

and their children

to visit Santa for a photo shoot.

It’s not the usual type of photography,

John said,

like the kind of people standing in line to take pictures

with Santa in the street like every year.

This time it will be Santa Claus sitting in a large armchair,

and there will be no more than two children waiting for their turn.

Each child can sit with Santa for 15 minutes if he likes.

Photographers will take pictures,

and it’s free.

John said again,

“This invited guy is exactly like Santa Claus.

There is no one here.

If you want him to meet Santa

and take a good photo,

come right away,

because this guy is only here until 3:30.”

I immediately picked up my wife

and drove straight to the furniture store.

My little boy had a good time that day,

and we went home with a great photo.

To this day

I still see it as an example of something unexpected,

inexpensive but full of emotion.

It showed me John was a caring person,

and that made me want to work with him even more.

With a personal digital assistant (PDA),

accessing and retrieving information of this kind is so easy.

When you talk to a client,

ask about Luke, Jennifer,

or his fashion model niece.

Or if you know a client

or colleague’s children are involved in an activity,

such as soccer,



and if your schedule allows,

be sure to come and see;

If you can always participate in those activities,

even better.

When my daughter was young,

I gave her softball training,

partly for her sake,

and partly

because one of my biggest clients teaches girls softball.

It was an opportunity for me to interact

with him outside of work,

and so we became close friends.

When we talk about special interests,

we often talk about lifestyles,


and hobbies.

Someone’s lifestyle encompasses a wide range of concepts,

such as a vegetarian diet,

involvement in social causes

(volunteer active in religious activities

or in charitable organizations),

participation in participate in environmental protection activities

(use fuel-efficient vehicles

or only buy natural clean vegetables,

do not use pesticides

or chemical fertilizers in the farming process).

Even working a lifetime

without rest is called a way of life.

The concept of activities here includes sports

and recreational activities such as golf,










collecting stamps and coins…

The list could be long,

very long.

Hobbies here can include things like:

following the stock market,

international news,

local politics,

reading books and movies,

studying astronomy,

watching plays,



This list is longer than any individual’s list of activities,

because normally most people have at least one

interests rather than activities they actually participate in.

Once you know someone’s special interests,

you will become sensitive

to articles published in newspapers

or magazines related to these issues.

According to general experience,

relevant information almost always comes unexpectedly

and inexpensively.

Cut and send them an article about

a newly discovered mystery,

about the benefits of tofu,

or the story of a certain religious structure.

The Internet makes it easier

for you to submit articles

and website addresses

that may be of particular interest to that person.

If you have the same interests as your customers

or potential customers,

even better.

If the other person’s interest is not on your list of interests,

consider this as an opportunity

for you to learn about it.

Think of people who might be important

to the customer or prospect.

Those important people can be influential figures in the industry,

famous managers,

or they can be very ordinary people

but have a certain meaning to that customer.

Do you know anyone who can help your client

or potential customer?

If the character has appeared in books,

send the customer a copy with his or her information.

If the character is local and accessible,

arrange a meeting for coffee,

beer, or dinner.

Help your customers reach the people they think are important.

What about the goals

they want to achieve in their careers

and in their personal lives?

Look for commonalities

between your personal goals

and that of your partner.

Suppose you know a female client

who loves to run a marathon,

and you are not ready,

or can’t,

run a marathon;

but no one is stopping you from being there

when she’s in the race if you want to.

Let’s say you know someone who likes

to have a Japanese garden.

You can give hints and small tips.

If you know other people’s personal goals,

you can bring them up in conversation,

be there to share when they achieve them,

and find some similarities

between yours and yours of that person.

Important events in a person’s life can include national holidays

or festivals such as Thanksgiving,

Christmas, New Year…

Also can include occasions like marriage,

promotion day office,

the day a family member dies.

In particular,

with this date that I have just mentioned last,

you must be very careful,

because people tend to refuse contact

when something unpleasant happens in their life,

like when you are seriously ill,

someone has an accident at home,

or a major business downturn is taking place.

Often, however,

a gesture of deep concern in times

of grief can have a tremendous effect.

Show that you always remember their special events,

be it with a handwritten message

or an email,

a fax,

a phone call or a postcard.

Write a few lines that say “Always thinking of you.”

Remember, our customers

or colleagues may be very different

from us in terms of holidays,

customs or history.

For me personally,

building and developing relationships

with people whose experiences are vastly different

from mine has turned out

to be easier than with people

who have a lot in common with me.

I often say,

“Forget my ignorance.”

I confess that I know very little about Buddhism,

Guy Fawkes,

or the secrets of a long life.

But it’s okay to learn.

Most people like to share ideas

and experiences that they consider important.

What can you do

when you know the other person’s favorite foods are Japanese,

Indian or Mexican food?

If someone loved chocolate sprinkles,

smoked salmon,

or Danish wedding cake,

what would you do?

Just recommend them to some new,

clean restaurants you know in the area they’re going to visit.

You can also find books that

teach them how to cook their favorite foods.

Share recipes with them.

The key point is how to get to know other people.

And once you’ve grasped the important things about them,

keep them in mind.

I usually take notes on paper,

and others use PDAs, computers…

You can use whatever you like,

it doesn’t matter;

The important thing is that none of us has a memory good enough

to remember everything

without having to store the information somewhere.

If you had a client or co-worker

who saw college as a milestone in their lives,

how would you process that information?

(Probably not in any way

if you don’t remember

or have no means of recalling).

For a time, I lived in Charlotteville,

where the University of Virginia is located.

One of my clients at the time was Charlie Miller,

a very enthusiastic alumnus of this school.

Charlie Miller lives in Elkto

Virginia, 90km from the school.

That year,

the University of Virginia won the National Baseball Championship Prep.

The local press devoted a special page

to the match and the team.

I remember that time,

after I finished reading the newspaper,

I walked over to the trash can to throw it away,

but in my mind I kept thinking,

“There is definitely a client of mine

who wants to read this article…

but who is it? huh?”

Then I suddenly remembered Charlie Miller.

So I wrote him a note:

“Dear Dr. Miller,

I thought you enjoyed reading this article,”

taped it on the paper,

and sent it to him.

Two weeks later,

when I had the opportunity to go to Elkton,

he welcomed me like a close relative,

and he placed orders

as if I were his only supplier.

We had a pretty good relationship before that,

and that’s how I learned that

he was an ardent supporter of the University of Virginia.

But the events of that Saturday took our relationship

to the next level.

If you work for a national commercial organization,

and if one of your clients

still remembers your days at Notre Dame,

Notre Dame football,

or the University of Texas or Ohio State,

you can easily call the representative of the South Bend in Indiana,

the Austin newspaper in Texas,

or the Columbus newspaper in Ohio and say,

“Send me the Sunday issue. ”

The Sunday newspaper always has articles

about Saturday’s matches.

It costs you about two dollars a newspaper,

only if you live in Boise you probably can’t subscribe

to the Sunday South Bend.

You can also give people some small school supplies.

If you know someone

who also graduated from that school,

you can invite them to lunch

or attend a special occasion.

Get information from them to advise the children of colleagues

or clients who wish to enroll in that school.

“Does Collin want to go to the University of Virginia?

In my opinion,

you should ask Dr. Charlie Miller.

And if you need it,

I can help too.”

There are some people

who like to go on vacation every year

to the same place,

but there are also people who like

to go to a different place every year.

Some people stick with the place

where they were born and raised.

Some people are thinking about retirement.

If you know that something is important,

and why is it important to a client

or potential customer,

what can you do?

Cut and send them newspaper articles about the countryside or the city.

Spend a little time browsing the Internet

and sending out information about the places,


and activities.

In general,

if you know a country,

a district, a city that has things that people like,

just recommend it to them.

Doing something unexpected,


and inexpensive doesn’t always give you immediate results.

In fact, most of the time it doesn’t yield any results.

However, it is still the right thing to do.

Not every seed you sow will germinate

and grow into a tree,

but if you want vegetables to eat,

you still have to plant seeds.

And the more seeds you sow,

the more likely you are

to enjoy delicious fruits and vegetables someday.

“You will get all you want in life,

if you help enough other people get what they want.” –Zig Ziglar



Establishing a relationship map,

in simple words,

means making a list of people

with whom you need to initiate a relationship.

You need to map carefully,


and strategically with the following four groups of people:

“You earn the right to tell your story,

when you start with theirs.” –Matt Heinz

1. People in the same organization who influence your success:

These people can be customer service representatives,

warehouse managers,

people working in the finance department… generally speaking everyone

who can make your job either easier,

or becomes deadlocked.

This team should be diverse,

not just from business,


or engineering peers,

but from many different parts of the organization.

In many cases,

we are forced

to build relationships of this kind remotely.

Maybe you live in Portland, Oregon,

but your headquarters are in Detroit.

How do you know that

the people you put on the list are the right people?

Then how can you build a relationship

with them in such a spatial distance?

Most people still use email,

phone or voicemail,

but those means aren’t always the most effective ways

to communicate.

The most effective messages are those

in which words are delivered

with your own facial expressions and gestures.

That explains why in-person speakers are more impressive than

when they appear on television,

and the visuals on television are more persuasive

than the voices on the radio.

Every time you use email

or voicemail,

you degrade the quality of communication

because the recipient of the message cannot see you directly,

cannot see your beautiful facial expressions in your eyes.

Perhaps the best way

to build relationships remotely is

to take advantage of meetings,

conferences, and trade shows.

Before having such meetings,

you should make a list of the people you want to know better,

and plan in advance to promote relationships

when you meet them.

Plan to invite them over for breakfast,


or dinner.

Don’t just sit with those above you.

That’s what most other people would do;

As for you, you’re trying to be unique,

remember that.

“Buyers don’t believe anything you have to say

to them about your product or service

until they first believe in you.” –Deb Calvert


2. For people who aren’t in the same organization

but are important to your work:

Sometimes it’s obvious who the prospect is.

But in a complex business,

that identification is not necessarily easy.

Therefore, it is necessary

to establish a relationship map with all those involved.

“If you can’t explain it simply,

you don’t understand it well enough.” –Albert Einstein


3. The people who are important to the success or failure of your career:

That is your direct boss,

the human resources director,

the company advisor

and other important figures in the business.

You need to be in regular contact

and on good terms with these people,

if they help you foresee a future opportunity

or help you get one.

The people who are important

to you can also be people outside the company,

like your coaches,


or your spouse.

These are people who are willing

to share their knowledge and experiences,

ready to tell you if they think you’re making a mistake,

or to offer suggestions you haven’t thought of.

“You don’t close a sale;

you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term,

successful enterprise.” –Patricia Fripp


4. People with whom you need to mend relationships:

In general, in business,

people in this group are usually the people

who had prospects to become customers,

or the old customers that someone in the business

in your company did something that alienated them.

Few of us dare intentionally offend our customers.

But many of us discover that

there are times when,


we have angered a client,

and in that case we must find a way

to correct the mistake.

One of the keys to business success is knowing

when to recognize mistakes and find ways

to mend the relationship to continue doing business.

Customer frustration may not be on a personal level.

Customers may feel frustrated

because the product we deliver

to them is not of the quality as described;

or due to competitive pressure,

sometimes we have behaved not according to their wishes,

or because competitors have played bad,

discrediting us in front of them.

It is also possible that someone in the company previously promised

to provide them with an item,

but did not fulfill the promise.

It is interesting

when I ask my training participants,

“Who do you need to have relationships

with in the company to be more successful?”

then the answer for the most part

is no more than an obvious fact:

The boss, and the boss’s boss.

They never think through every aspect of the question.

They don’t know that the person in charge

of human resources also makes key decisions,

and they don’t know

that if they want to get into marketing,

they must have a good relationship

with the production manager.

You need to regularly enlist more supporters,

and the only way to do this is

to have a comprehensive relationship map.

Also, when you’re setting up your relationship chart,

be sure to share it

with your departmental supervisor.

You and your manager need

to agree on who should be on the chart.

A well-meaning supervisor will rarely shrink your list,

but instead add one

or more people you haven’t thought of.


he will also help you build these relationships.

Mapping and jumping the Relationship Tower are two concepts

that can make a big difference in your life.

It takes you from a passive to an active customer approach.

You can only reach your customers proactively

and effectively when you know how

to build a relationship map

and climb to the top of the tower.

Jumping the Relationship Tower is about continuing

to pursue relationships

by elevating your existing relationships

with the people in your Relationship Tower.

It’s a tight system,

not merely establishing a link,

but establishing a good link.

The power of connections is

where you are in the other person’s Relationship Pyramid.

Jumping the Relationship Tower,

you’ll also increase your effectiveness,

as you’ll already be able to reach people

who are more beneficial to you.

With the help of someone we know we are actively doing things

that most of us usually do unconsciously.

But to do this,

we need to know

who is in the Other’s Relationship Pyramid.

When my friend asked me

if I knew a good plumber

and I recommended him a reliable plumber,

I was helping him.

That plumber jumps from our Relationship Tower

to a friend’s Relationship Tower.

When someone introduces you to others as trustworthy,

you jump from one Relationship Tower to another.

Most of us have,

to some extent, done this Tower jump,

but now we can develop the skills

to do it more effectively.

The concept of jumping the Relationship Tower,

in the usual sense,

is not synonymous with the concept

of network expansion.

Networking is handing out a lot of business cards

at a business meeting.

Networking occurs

when people post their information on sites like Friends,


Facebook, or register their own website

with the LinkedIn corporation.

Back then there was a job search site

on a website called SimplyHired

that applied what I described

about jumping the Relationship Tower here.

SimlyHired links to LinkedIn so its users can click

on the “Who Do I Know?” dialog box,

above each job listing.

When you click on it,

LinkedIn will scour the network it uses

to filter out people you know at the company you’re hiring for,

or let you know if LinkedIn knows anyone

who indirectly knows someone at the company

you’re hiring for need to hire staff

(provided you’ve signed up for an account at LinkedIn).

I’d suggest a more personal Tower-jumping,

but this is a technical solution,


better than nothing.

People often email me,

and with their resume is often asked

if I can help them find a job.

They want me to pass their resume to someone.

But this is still not the Tower of Relationship jumping.

The “jumping” or moving back and forth

between the relationship pyramids happens only

as you step up the process of approaching that new relationship.

So, if someone knows me well enough to send me a resume,

that person can also call me and say,

“I’m looking for a job.

Here’s my story…

Can you recommend someone in the pharmaceutical industry

who is looking for a job in Texas?”

I can tell her the name of someone I know.

Then she can politely ask,

“How do you think I should contact this person?

Or if you don’t mind, could you contact me?”

I prefer making phone calls to emailing.

If someone asks me to transfer my resume,

I’d be happy to help them,

but the chances of connecting

that way are usually not very good.

If you ask me to help you jump from my Relationship Tower

to someone else’s Relationship Tower,

I’ll help you do it

– you’re in my Relationship Tower.

I will always recommend people at the top

of the relationship pyramid,

if required.

If a sales manager knows that I have many connections,

she can ask me to help recommend a salesperson,

and I will refer her to a person

(or maybe two or three people)

at a higher level at

or near the top of my Relationship Tower.

And depending on the context,

the referrer doesn’t necessarily have to

be at the top of the Relationship Tower.

I can recommend a skilled mechanic

or a good accountant

who doesn’t value a relationship with me personally.

Even if you’re not at the top of someone’s Relationship Pyramid,

that person will still be happy

to recommend you to others,

as long as they know they’re not in danger

of being misinterpreted as evil mean,

or stupid.

That’s the problem you need to clear up.

Who would recommend an inexperienced mechanic,

or a treacherous salesman who likes to stab in the back?

You may not be at the top of my relationship pyramid,

but if you’re capable

and I’m sure you won’t cause me any trouble,

I’ll still recommend you.

The problem here is how to know

who occupies the top position in the Relationship Pyramid of others.

So you have to ask.

Who do you know?

In the past six months have you been in contact

with anyone that you think I need to know about?

Please give an example.

I was talking to a very nice client recently,

and I asked him if he knew anyone

who was running a large advertising agency.

He gave me a name.

I asked him again if he could introduce me to this person.

He replied, “Very well.”

The next day,

he emailed the head of an advertising agency,

introduced me,

and said we needed to meet.

I emailed again,

the man sent me another email,

and then we arranged a phone call.

If I hadn’t asked my client if he knew anyone

who ran a large advertising agency,

I would never have jumped

from the client’s Relationship Tower to the leader’s.

And my client will never give me information,

because he has no idea who I need to contact.

That’s how effective “jumping the relationship tower” is.

“It’s not what you look at that matters,

it’s what you see.” –Henry David Thoreau



Actions over time will automatically

they speak of your sincerity and good nature,

they will help distinguish you from other salespeople.

But you have to do those actions very persistently.

You can’t do something once

and expect immediate results.

Taking actions that need to be surprising,

but deliberate,

and inexpensive,

over such a long period of time shows the way you do your job,

the person you are.



and inexpensive actions will say for you,

“I’ve always thought of you…

You’re so important to me…

I’m not like everyone else you’ve ever been met in my business life…”

Positive business relationships are based on actions.

Unexpected but deliberate

and inexpensive actions will let people know

who you are and how you treat others.

It’s inexpensive,

but you can’t always avoid spending a lot of money.

However, how to save money is still the best.

I have a friend who owns a newspaper.

She was very upset

with some of her sales staff,

because the advertising service was not up to expectations.

One of the newspaper employees is working

with a store in Arizona

to convince the store to become his customer.

This representative regularly visits the store,

distributes newspapers and speaks to whoever

is there when she comes,

but has never met the owner.

Meanwhile, the newspaper owner always hopes that

“They must be on our advertising page.

We’ve been there too long.

They have to advertise.”

Then by chance one of the editors of that newspaper enrolled

in our training class.

When she understood the importance of building relationships,

she immediately realized

that the newspaper would never convince the store owner

until it knew how to become an advertising agency.

Amazingly, it turned out

that the newspaper had no reason to complain,

since until then it had not been allowed

to inquire into the business

of the other merchant.

It has not established any relationship yet.

The editor shared this thought with a news representative

who was sent to work with the agency

and rebuild the business plan.

Once again, the news agent put all her efforts

into reaching the agency owner,

and once she did,

she worked hard to build a relationship.

Since then, the prospect of selling

the ad has also begun to expand.

President Abraham Lincoln once said,

“If you want to convince a man

to follow your cause,

you must first convince him that you are a true friend.”

A lot of times we are so focused on our goals that

we forget to pay attention

to the goals of our customers

or potential customers.

As I have emphasized many times in this book,

having the right mindset,

an effective sales process,

and valuable relationships leads

to great advantages in business.

But there is still one last sticking point

that I need to address,

because having good sales skills

without opportunity is like a road

to the death of a salesperson.

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Angel Cherry

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