The phrase, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust” it is – without question – the foundational premise for everything I teach in terms of business networking and overall business relationship-building.
I’m often asked the following question:
“Bob, isn’t it also true that, all things not being equal, people will still do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust?
While that sounds correct, actually, by and large, the answer is no, they won’t.
First, understand that when I say, “all things, or all else, being equal”…I mean equal, or even anywhere close to equal.
So, now let’s ask, “why is ‘all things not being equal’ incorrect?”
Because, if things aren’t equal (or close enough to it) the fact that the person knows, likes and trusts you just won’t be enough to swing the sale.
For example, one person has an inferior product (and it’s an important product that the buyer’s family will be using. In other words, the quality is important!). It doesn’t matter how much he is known, liked and trusted, he’s most likely not going to get that buyer’s business. Things are unequal. If all things were equal (or, even close to equal), he’d get the business.
Two people have great products, similar prices, terms, reputations, etc. But the person you know, like and trust simply cannot get it delivered by the time you need it, and it must be in order for it to make sense for you to purchase it. You will probably go with the other person. All things are not equal, or even close enough to being equal.
Just one more of hundreds of examples we could all come up with: I grew up with a great family dentist. I know, like and trust him. Even after we moved from my original town (where he was located) to an hour away when I was four years old, we continued to drive an hour each way just to see him. Things were close enough to equal. But that was in Massachusetts.
I now live in Florida and have for close to 25 years. It doesn’t matter how much I know, like and trust him, things are too unequal. As soon as I moved down here, I found a local dentist.
I hope these examples make sense and clarify why, as important as “know like and trust” is (and it is!) its power must still be based on the premise of general equality in other aspects of the sale.
Agree? Disagree? Either way, I’d love some examples from you!
By the way, I remember reading the following years ago in Tim Sanders’ bestseller, Love is the Killer App: “If you’re nice, but not smart (in this context, by “smart” he meant knowledgeable and able to perform your job), it won’t scale.”
In other words, the know you, like you, trust you relationship is vital, but you still must be able to perform, or, deliver the goods, so to speak. And, your product must be at least close enough to equal.