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friendsNoted sales author Jeffrey Gitomer stated the value of friends like this.  “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends.”  “All things being not so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.”  “Connecting is all about your friendliness, your ability to engage, and your willingness to give value first.”  Note that the book that this was taken from, The Little Black Book of Connections,  is not even about social media, yet it is directly applicable.

Friends are vital.  This is also why social media done well is so effective.  Yet for whatever reason this idea remains a mystery to many.

Here is a dramatic recreation of a conversation I had earlier this week with someone who was curious about the whole “social media thing.”

Umm.. How do you use social media to generate business?

“Make friends.”

How do you make friends?

“Be a good friend.”

Oh, So is the goal then to get as many friends as possible so you can then sell them things?

“No, the goal is to be a good friend to your friends- a good steward of the time and effort it takes for them to be your friend.”

What?  Why not just gather names and information and the “market” to them?

“If one of your friends knocked on your door at home every night asking for something from you, how long until you stopped answering the door?”

Yeah but if enough friends answer just once I could make up for the ones who shut me out right?

“Sure, until they kick you out of the neighborhood, tell others what a jerk you are, and refuse to acknowledge you exist.  Just be a good friend.”

I still don’t see how that would help me.

“First, it is not about you.”  “Second, suppose you were a plumber and your friend up the street happened to know you were a plumber.”  “When the pipe under his sink freezes next winter, and he needs help he could use the phone book or google to find a plumber or he could call a friend – you – to help him fix his problem.” “If you did a good job, he might tell people around the neighborhood about how you came through for him in a bind.”  “They might decide to call you when they have plumbing issues, because people want to do business with their friends.”  “You now have customers.”    “With social media, you can have a really big neighborhood, with really cool neighbors.”  “You can help them, they can help you.”   “Be a good friend first.”  “Get more friends as a result.”

Oh…  so what makes a “good friend?”

– More on that next time.  For today remember Mr. Gitomer’s advice “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends.”