The word ‘friend’ is such a happy word. Everything associated with it brings along a sense of goodness. We all like having friends and we do better in life with them than without them. So being considered a friend is a good thing, right? It is until you are talking about sales and dating when you enter the dreaded friendship zone. It is a no man’s land that offers no way out once you are in. It is a black hole that sucks out all of your energy and passion and keeps you trapped in a world of hopes, wishes and good intentions. Perhaps ‘The Friend Zone’ is a bit of a misnomer deliberately labeled as such to lure unsuspecting victims into a false sense of accomplishment while you find yourself sinking into a quagmire of desperation.
Let’s define the Friend Zone and how you end up finding yourself there. The Friend Zone is the place you go when you’ve been strung along in the courting process from someone who does not, and never did, have any intention of doing business with you. They act like your friend and have you do favors for them such as writing an endless amount of estimates, looking over a competitors estimate to make sure they are honest, letting you take them to lunch or they just generally like having you around to talk to. Does this sound familiar in dating yet? In the meantime you tell yourself that each favor has gotten you one step closer to winning the business, but you are no further along than you were a year ago. You’re in the Friend Zone and there is no way out without an honest conversation.
How did you arrive in the friendship zone to begin with? It is a mistake almost every salesperson makes. We spend so much time on developing the relationship that we are afraid of ruining it by going in for the kiss and asking for the sale. We are afraid of being rejected so we continue along with false hopes and the prospect, who does not respect you, is happy to take all the handouts he can get. Too much time spent talking about your favorite sports team than talking about doing business together because you didn’t want to come across as pushy (or at least that is what you will tell yourself).
If you have ever wanted to date someone and found yourself in the Friend Zone, you know how painful and embarrassing it is. Once you have been labeled as that ‘friend’, your chances of dating are over. Perhaps it was never in the cards in the first place. It is possible to enjoy each other’s company without an equal romantic ambition just as two different people can get along but not find a reason to do business together. Either way you are left feeling defeated and used once you have come to realize that you are never getting out of the Friend Zone.
So, how do we avoid getting in the Friend Zone? It really comes down to your sales training and sales process. Players in the dating world ( there are also not so kind terms of endearment we could use) are good at achieving their goals because they have a defined and proven process that gets them what they want. You may think that person as the guy that gets all the girls and some will find that admirable while others see it as disgusting. The fact that it works is really the point. Scorecard’s sales training and processes will keep you from getting into the Sales Friend Zone in the first place by teaching you how to have the right conversation with the right person in the right way. Better still, having a Scorecard to keep track of what is and is not working can quickly transform you from being the wallflower stick-in-the-mud to the guy that gets all the girls. Ladies, I am approaching a fine line here relating this analogy on your terms, so please create your own inferences in whatever way that motivates you that you are comfortable with. I have said that relating sales to dating can make for both interesting and uneasy conversations. But let’s make sales first and friends later.