The salespeople that connive you into believing you have a friendship with them are the worst. It’s that sort of trust we build as friends, where I’ll pay a little more or you’ll clean it up just a little more, which cannot be faked. When I sell goods or services, I try to present myself as honestly as I can to build trust, and maybe friendships form after that. That’s how it should be, but…
How buying is done professionally is substantially different.
If I tell someone during the troubleshooting process that we often don’t immediately know the answers, but can quickly find the answers, showing that humility and vulnerability can build empathy. Done well and we can collaborate easier and even have a nice conversation. Done poorly, as in said to a persnickety person practicing perfectionism, and it’s a conversation about polishing professionalism.
My friends and acquaintances already know these quirks.
It’s that sort of reliability in friends, though, that epitomizes the phrase: “I don’t know the answer yet but I will find out.” In business, there is no real true friendship. A contract guarantees certain events to occur, pending penalties, which need to be notarized or otherwise endorsed because of the willingness of some to steal freebies whenever possible.
What if we didn’t take anything we weren’t sold?
What if we kept our honor during buying or selling transactions? The willingness not to cheat others, even when it’s easy to get away with it, is the mark of an individual worth having as a friend. That sort of willingness to throw in an extra buck occasionally or do something without asking just because it’s the polite thing to do.
I don’t have much I want to buy.
Other than lofty concepts like autonomy, I really only want to buy utilities like groceries and the occasional new entertainment item. I do like buying the opportunities to have more moments of happiness, ranging from hanging out with friends in restaurants or coffee shops to visiting new locations, so that might be where eventually my buying trends will go.
I like buying coffee for friends now.
It’s nice sitting in the back of some coffee shop, somewhere, and exploring ideas. The best conversations are where we buy and sell ideas to grow together. I might pitch an idea, they might expand on it, and the conversation evolves as we evolve. Those are the sorts of things I want to buy from my friends. If that means buying their time, then it’s a weird way of putting it, but I suppose what else do we have to sell to others but our time? If I sell you an object, say a videogame, then I’m selling you the convenience of having it already vetted by someone else. You can trust I wouldn’t falsify a sale since I want to hang out with you again.
Salespeople and people you meet through sales sites, however, might never see you again. Maybe that’s why selling sucks?
|Sources: My personal and professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: Besides the random Wall Market reference in the more tag? I wanted to explore my thoughts on buying and selling to friends in a two-part essay analysis. I think these sales encounters are difficult because I like making friends, however, in sales, it’s more of communication and interaction for the goal of exchanging goods or services for money than exchanging ideas, camaraderie, or other things that friends do.|
|Related: Other Selling Zeal essays.|
|Photo: A friend bought Hang by Lagwagon at the show since I wasn’t able to go. It took me a few days to figure out an acceptable visual element for this essay.|
|Written On: July 15th [24 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: July 15th [No edits. First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|