There is a famous quote from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, "They're single serving friends". If we are all honest with ourselves we like having them.
A single serving friend is one that is there for a small window filling a specific need. It is a very indulgent luxury that all of us can have, and that many times we go back to over and over again. I have more than a few in my life, like the server at Starbucks. I am an admitted coffee addict (there is a giant cup next to me now) and go in to Starbucks daily for a large black coffee. Each time I go in the same server is behind the counter, and we have what amounts to a 30 second exchange daily. When I get to the counter she smiles, most times already has my coffee order ready because she noticed me in line, asks how my day is going, and generally makes a comment about the weather, news etc. For my part I compliment her on remembering my order and being so quick, have some comment or another on the weather, work, etc, and then tell her to have a great day. The perfect single serving friend that I pick up when I want.
Most of us have a network of people like this that can be counted on to be a friendly face at the time of our choosing. The price of a cup of coffee is a small price to pay to have a friend any time I want. Social media is a this concept on a larger scale. How many accumulated followers/friends/connections do you have that are not actual friends, family, or associates? Like the rest of tons. We connect, play games online, chat to have a friend at the time and in the situation of our choosing.
Now how does this relate to being a professional sales representative? Simple, your potential clients coming in want a single serving friend. A person that is there strictly to be nice to them, listen to them, agree with them. When people feel this they keep coming back, it builds loyal clients. Consumers coming in to your business want to be able to have a relationship on their terms, as they want it. That could be anything from formal to extremely personal. A great salesperson adapts and allows the client to have this indulgent friendship.
P.S. If anyone would like to be my single serving friend I am always looking for one. Send me a connection request, or find me on twitter @hggershman
Gregory Gershman - Managing Partner - Recruitment HQ