The customer friendship zone

One of the great things about sales in B2B is you can build genuine friendships. I've experienced that myself building two very strong and unexpected friendships over the last 10 years. Where I can say they are now very close friends. Many of you may have also experienced the same.

Despite the great opportunities to build relationships this post is to offer some wisdom and err of caution if you find yourself moving into the friendzone with a client.  Where conversation becomes more personal or you get the invitation to a house warming. All great things but..

Here are five considerations for you if you feel you're moving into the friendzone.

  • Take it slow e.g. Going on a joint holiday break for two might not be the best first step (I've seen this actually happen and it didn't end well)
  • Set boundaries - Know when something is business and when it isn't. If you're going for a lunch meeting make sure the purpose is clear at all times. 
  • Be transparent - If you and your client are getting along that's great. Make it known to someone you trust. Having that extra accountability can keep you in check.
  • You don't have to go there - We sometimes need to take a step back and give yourself perspective. Just because you get along doesn't mean they're someone you should hang out with. The pressure can be there because they're your client but you can sometimes do more damage going along with it then saying no to start with.
  • Don't take advantage - Now you're in a different place, you may be going on holiday together,eating at each others houses. Now's not the time to pull the 'how about that deal' card. Those moments erode trust fast. The benefits of your relationships will come but don't force the hand.

Relationships from all sides should be something we enjoy and care for. In business we owe it to ourselves and to our customers to take the proactive step to ensure it starts and continues well.

What next?

Want to know how to best differentiate your relationships, deepening your influence and create predictable long term sales growth with your key customers. Contact me to have a talk about how I can help you HERE or get connected to other free resources and customer growth insights at www.jermaineedwards.com/signmeup 

Jermaine Edwards

Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.