Is it in your best interest?

People in sales would love all their sales to be easy. But in the real world, very few sales are simple and easy. Most would prefer closing a sale on the first visit than having to meet with their customer time and time again before they earn the right to close the sale.

So when an opportunity to sell to family or friends comes along, the temptation to engage them in a sales cycle is strong. But, is it in your best interest to sell to family and friends?

Sometimes, Selling to Family or Friends is Inevitable

Depending on what you sell, your family or friends may want to buy from you and you won’t need to “sell” them at all. This is more “order taking” than it is sales.

But be careful not to charge them more or less than what you’d charge anyone else. Charging your family or friends more than the normal price for your product or services is akin to taking advantage of your relationship. Likewise, giving them a steep discount may hurt your position with your sales company.

The best way to proceed when a family or friend engages you and wants to buy something from you is to offer them a fair price and that you offer them the same level of customer service you give every other customer.

Here is something that you may want to keep in mind before opening that door.

“There are people in your inner circle who trust you. Family members, close work colleagues, college alumni, and dear friends–they will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Think twice before turning this circle into prospects by selling them products and services.

First, it doesn’t scale. You don’t have enough relatives to cash in on.

But far more important, these relationships are precious. These are the people who will help you level up, who see you, who care about your future. They are the ones who will tell you the truth and will challenge you to become a better version of yourself. Don’t burn this down on the lazy road to your next paycheck.

If your product or service isn’t good enough to sell to strangers now, it’s not going to be good enough after you sell it to your inner circle.

[On the other hand–if it’s not good enough to sell to your family, please don’t sell it to us.]” Seth Godin.

Some Sales Industries Are More Friends and Family Focused

There are some industries that not only want you to sell to your family and friends but actually, encourage it. The insurance industry is an excellent example of an industry that expects their rookie sales professionals to actively prospect to their family, friends, and associates.

It is very common for a new insurance agent to be asked for a list of 100 to 200 names of friends and family. This list becomes the new agent’s call list.

If you are asked for such a list and your employer fully expects you to not only turn in your list but also to actively try to sell to those on your list, you need to make a decision. If the idea of calling your family and friends and asking for them to do business with you is way outside of your comfort zone, then you should think about a different sales position.

Industries to Avoid Selling to Family and Friends

A great way to end a friendship or to cause stress in families is to sell products that have a tendency to malfunction or professional services that involve selling financial services. Here is an example:

You landed your first sales job in the financial services industry.  A friend has some money to invest and asks you for your advice. You share your knowledge and offer some suggestions as to where he can invest his money. He likes your ideas and asks you if he can buy the financial vehicle through you.

You make the transaction, take his money, earn your commission then move on with your day. This could turn out great if your investment idea works out well but, if things go south, you may end up losing a friend.

People are very sensitive when it comes to money matters and losing money on an investment is a very emotional event. And if you were the one who suggested that a friend invests in something that loses money, they will blame you.

The best advice, you can offer suggestions and share your expertise, but when it comes to selling products that have a tendency of malfunctioning or services that come with the inherent potential of losing money, it’s better off if someone else in your company handles the sale.

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