Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

The Friendly Factor. How full of it are you?

How important is friendly in making connections? To me, if there are one hundred qualities of a successful person, service person or salesperson – friendly is in the top three, and may be the top one.

  • Friendly makes connections. Friendly generates the opportunity to “want” to know others better.
  • Friendly makes sales. Friendly generates repeat business.
  • Friendly is a quality, and like all qualities, there are varying levels of competency.
  • Friendly is a degree. What’s the temperature of friendly in your place of business? Is it warm or cold where you work?

And hey, if the degree of friendly in your place of business is somewhere between medium and un (friendly), here’s a question that will make you squirm – What’s the relationship between friendly staff and loyal customers? Answer: one breeds the other.

Well, if friendly is so important, Jeffrey, then why isn’t everyone friendly? Good question. It seems so easy. One reason is that people are too serious about everything – especially bosses, and they set the tone for the rest of the people. Do friendly businesses make it? Microsoft is friendly. Ask them.

The secret is for the corporation bigwigs (or small business owner) to create a friendly environment AND to train people to be friendly, AND to be (act) friendly all the time. Friendly has to be “on-purpose.”

Here’s a 3.5 step plan that will make everyone so friendly, you’ll feel like work is Disneyworld. Ok, Ok, Wallyworld:

  1. Create Friendly. Select and document every friendly way, manner and response – then benchmark it (write it down), then empower your people to say ONLY that.

Success Strategy: Have a benchmarking party for your employees, and let them participate in the solutions. They think they know more about the business than the boss does anyway, let them have a say in the solution.

  • Let your people develop “best responses” to repeat customer problems (late delivery, out of stock, error in billing).
  • Let your people create “consistent friendly welcomes” to your customers (initial phone greeting, guests visiting the office).
  • Let your people develop “best practices” for repeat customer interactions (phone messages, receiving an order, transferring a call).

Friendly is at the epicenter of your business, but it’s only a seed that must be germinated, and then nurtured – every day.

  1. Train Friendly. To some degree friendly can be taught. If you have grumpy people (or want to avoid attracting them), Here’s a few methods and strategies to remedy the situation:
  • Train people in the fundamental skills that build themselves first, and your company second. Most employers train about their own stuff and their own policies and procedures, but neglect the person carrying out the tasks. Why try to teach algebra to someone who can’t add.
  • Train your people what to do in the top 25 real-world situations that occur when a customer calls or visit. Train them to ask questions that can close a sale.

When interacting with a customer, concentrate on the person not the personality. Concentrate on the caller – not the call. Your first job is to help them – not yourself.

Hire happy people. I have a quicker solution – just institute this policy. If you’re grumpy, you’re fired , simple enough – no, no, wait – better to get them a job at your biggest competitor that way when they chase business away, it will come to you.

  1. Create a friendly atmosphere on the inside and outside. Live Friendly.

  • Be a friendly person on the inside. Have the attitude it takes to be smiling internally first. Major Clue for employee – Poor attitude can come from places other than work. Major Clue for employer – You can’t change people’s home life, but it’s to every employers best advantage to make the atmosphere inside the workplace a fun one.
  • Be a friendly person to your co-workers. Say nice things to them. Help them when they least expect it.
  • Create a happy work environment – flowers, posters, banners,
  • Start with yes.
  • Have parties.
  • Tell jokes.

3.5 Measure your “friendly factor.” Survey your people, survey your customers, survey your vendors – get a monthly (without name) feedback. Ask questions that get to the truth about happiness. Get the pulse from the heart.

The value of friendly is beyond measure – it costs nothing, yet it’s worth a fortune. And it’s the most contagious disease known to man – catch it.