If you have enough friends you never have to sell anything. If you have ever attended the Carnegie Institute you almost certainly know that in 1936 Dale Carnegie wrote, "How To Win Friends and Influence People". My uncle, Benjamin Wilkes Hale, did his best to get me to read it when I was about seven. It was much later before I finally picked it up.
During my formative businessman years, from about age twenty to age thirty-five, I really chewed through life. There were two kinds of people to me, useful and useless. Unfortunately for me most people were useless. My friends were all outside of my business world and everyone in my industry was relegated to a sub-category called "useless but necessary". Of course there was no actual list on paper or computer just a filing system inside of a mind yet to develop and grasp my opening sentence.
If you have enough friends you never need to sell anything. Why? Your friends will sell for you. Recently we had a kickoff to open our new southeastern regional office facilities in a very nice five star office building here in Atlanta. We gathered a good representation of our employees into one of the larger conference facilities and I was asked to close the event.
When I stood up to speak I had my normal "so glad you came, sell a bunch by lunch - be a winner by dinner" talk when it dawned on me that's not what I do. I was about to tell these people to do something I don't do myself. So what is it I do and does it work for me?
I make friends. Of course I am a little older than most of you and I have been making friends for several years but it is never too late to start. Be a friend. Be more interested in what others have to say to you than what you have to say to them. Have you ever known a person who can't wait for you to shutup so they can get started saying what they want to say? Sure you have. If not you may ask your friend(s) if that person is you. I certainly have been guilty.
When you enter a conversation lead with your ears and enter a lot of conversations. The squeaky wheel doesn't always get the grease - it also gets replaced. Attend meetings in person regardless of their size. If you are invited go! Collect business cards and send follow up emails or notes. Keep a birthday log and use it! Become that person who never sells anything and become that person who always comes to the top of people's minds when your industry is mentioned.