How to Win Friends and Influence Clients

As an independent consultant, I know that marketing and selling is a big part of my life and livelihood, but they haven’t been naturals for me. That’s why I like to watch and learn from the pros.

This is a true story about a guy I know. I’ll call him “Ray” because he’s like a ray of sunshine in every way. We all can take a page or two from the book he endorses and lives. (At the end of this blog I’ll tell you the title — you may be surprised.)

Ray is one of the best examples I know of a successful business person. He’s a top-selling pharmaceutical rep for one of the world’s largest pharma companies. What’s more, he’s a top seller even though he doesn’t have a particularly good territory. While other reps get Manhattan or Los Angeles, Ray has to travel long distances around a large, sparsely-settled Midwestern state to serve his physician clients. Yet two years in a row, Ray was the top oncology sales rep for his corporation. If you know anything about how sales goals are set, you know it’s tough to be # 1 in the first year – but nearly impossible the second because the bar is raised significantly.

I couldn’t resist asking Ray how he managed it. A generous person, he willingly shared three things.

#1: Ray knows his company’s products, his competitor’s products, the industry, and the field of medicine in general. Learning has to be ongoing because the flow of new discoveries and new drugs is constant. This alone, however, isn’t the answer.

#2: Ray is a true consultant. That means real problem-solving even when it may mean losing some immediate business. He partners with his physician clients to help them figure out the best solutions for individual cancer patients. He will even recommend a competitor’s drug if he thinks it’s more suitable in a particular case. Clients see him as collaborator rather than salesperson, and trust is built. But this isn’t the only answer, either.

#3: Here’s the secret sauce. Ray truly cares about people. He understands that clients don’t buy products and services as much as they buy an experience – from people they can relate to. In answer to my question about his selling skills, Ray said (and I quote): “I don’t try to make sales; I try to make friends.” For him, that means relating to clients on a personal level first. It isn’t fake; he truly appreciates and respects others. He went on to tell me that his daily guide is Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It has been a best-selling business book since 1936. Some of the examples are dated, but the information and techniques are still “right on.” Ray told me that he re-reads it annually. I had a copy on my bookshelf, so I read it again – and there was Ray on every page. As one who is privileged to know this outstanding human being, I can assure you he doesn’t just turn the pages, he turns the advice into action.

By the way, Ray is a 30-something guy with a loving family and hundreds of adoring friends and associates. He’s an all-around success because he practices the same solid people principles in private as he does in business.

It’s not hard to find a copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” The investment is small, and the payoff can be gigantic. Just ask Ray.' About Tresa Eyres


  1.' Job Seeker says

    always good to be reminded that people need to see us as a resource. not an annoyance.

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