Sell with Trust and Have a Friend for Life: 32 Lessons from Jim Cathcart
Written by: Scott Dinsmore
Average Reading Time: 5 minutes
What’s more likely to get you to buy something: a slick sales pitch or a friendly referral?
It’s no surprise that we’d all prefer to do business with someone we like and trust. And who couldn’t use a reminder? Well a group of 150 entrepreneurs and I had the chance to make this a life motto when we heard Jim Cathcart speak at a Catalyst For Thought event in Santa Barbara last week. What followed was an hour-long energizing, motivating, belly laughing, masters education on how to live life.
Jim’s written 14 books on relationship selling and speaks, coaches and inspires behavior across the world. Yet we had him all to ourselves. He learned early in life that business should be an act of friendship and has guided his life accordingly. If that’s where you start, there’s no limit to where you’ll end.
The hour was filled with a lifetime’s worth of education.
A guide to making business an act of friendship: 32 lessons
1. Partners win. Persuaders do not. Partnerships are designed for both sides to win. See every interaction as a way to partner.
2. We naturally resist when we feel force. Resist the temptation to try to talk them into it. Try to convince and they’ll naturally want to say no.
3. Focus on solutions, not products. Salesmen sell products. Friends sell solutions. Think solutions and you’ll always have your customer in mind.
4. The why is what drives it. The how is simply what it does.
Ask how and you’ll always have a job. Ask why and you’ll always be their boss.
5. It’s not hard to stand out. Just decide to in advance. All it takes is a decision and a commitment.
6. Two people who want to do business together will figure out the details. If they don’t want to do business together then the details won’t allow it to happen. Business and sales is about perception and emotion. Have that genuine interest to do business with someone and they will likely reciprocate.
7. A sale without a relationship is called a vending machine. A sale with a relationship is called a friendship.
8. When trust is high enough, selling is not required. Remember the last time someone you deeply trusted and respected asked you to do something. How much did you push back and question?
9. Build a relationship and trust will come. You cannot build trust. Form a genuine relationship and the trust will come naturally.
10. As trust goes up, tension goes down. The opposite is also true. We will resist tension if it’s there. Shift the focus to trust and that is what will be embraced. Remove the threat and gain the trust.
11. Look like you’re trustworthy. Physical appearance counts. Be well dressed, well groomed, well postured and well kept. Snap judgements make a difference. But don’t over do it. No one likes the manufactured slick salesman. Your physical appearance must align with your career and life plan.
12. Don’t throw judgement onto new relationships. Don’t base today’s actions on beliefs from yesterday. Remember, this does not always mean that.
13. He who has the most options wins. The more you know about a situation or person, the more intelligently you can ask. Don’t miss a chance to be intelligent. Do some digging.
14. There is no such thing as a one-time customer. That person will buy again, whether it’s directly from you or by referring someone else. Make every customer a recurring customer.
15. Be prepared. If you’re not ready for the opportunity, then it’s not your opportunity. It’s someone else’s.
16. You are making people’s lives better with a profit. Only sell something where this is wholly true. Then place all the energy you have firmly behind it.
17. Increase your relational assets and decrease your liabilities. Life is a series of relationships. They are either assets or liabilities. Ask how you can make every relationship more of an asset or less of a liability.
18. Define each relationship’s outcome. All relationships have a desired outcome–friendship, love, support, business, etc. This dictates the rules and actions for each interaction.
19. It’s not who you know, it’s who is happy to know you. Happiness drives favorable actions.
20. Trust is power. Knowledge is no longer power when it’s free and unlimited. Trust is the global currency of success.
21. Be in the business of keeping those around you in the right frame of mind. This is every salesman’s job. Why not make it a personal obligation? Those who can best manage other’s states (and their own) will win the day.
22. Ask yourself ‘how do I work on me to make me more desirable?’ The answer lies in those around you.
23. People remember how you made them feel. They do not remember the product and it’s features. Leave them with a smile and it won’t be your last sale. People come back for the feeling, not the product or even the person. Be the person who provides that feeling.
24. If you’re not sure she’ll say yes, it’s not the day to ask. As with a marriage proposal, only ask for the sale when it’s already yours. Be sure they’ll say yes. If you see a red light, ask questions to get them in the right state. If the light’s green then write up the order and don’t even ask.
25. Adopt a mantra: What this means to you is… Say this over and over again before every meeting. Get into their perspective.
26. Be special because you want to be. Not because you should. You can teach sales techniques but you cannot teach a mindset for service. Give acknowledgement and special treatment because it’s your nature.
27. When it comes to email it’s not about ‘eye contact’, it’s about ‘I content’. Lead with I and We and your resistance will be high and sales low. Leave them out and see more action.
28. Up serve, not up sell. Get them more satisfied with what they’re already buying and follow-on sales will come naturally.
29. Explain the value they’re getting even after the sale. Don’t assue they know it all just because they bought. Continue to surprise and impress.
30. Why does what I do matter? Know it before you talk to anyone.
31. Learn to do things when they need to be done, when you don’t feel like doing them, and still do a great job. This is success. If you can’t lead you, please don’t lead others.
32. Our purpose is to make others’ lives better. Live it and you’ll never let yourself down.
Take action on just one of the above and your business, customers and friendships will start to meld. And don’t worry-it’s a lifetime process no matter when you start. You may decide to follow all of the above or just a few, but quickly you’ll find them all contagious. Once you begin, it will come naturally.
Make the decision today that selling should be an act of friendship. Act accordingly.
Thank you Jim- for the inspiration, the entertainment and the education. You no doubt left this crowd a good bit better than you found it.
Which one of the above are you going to apply first? Which are already a part of you? Share how it’s changed your experiences in the comments section.