People Want To Do Business With Their Friends

Work hard to make friends, and you won’t have to work very hard to do business with your friends.

It’s common knowledge that people would prefer to do business with their friends.  People like having “a guy” or “a girl.”

As much as you want to build relationships with your customers, most of them want to build a relationship with you, too.

Ok, it may not seem like it.  On the lot, customers will:

  • Avoid you
  • Ignore you
  • Treat you badly

But that’s only because you don’t know them yet!  Notice my choice of words there.  It’s not because they don’t know you; it’s because you don’t know them.

One of the most important things you will need to learn to be genuinely successful in the car business is how to make friends. Making friends is a process.  It’s a series of steps.  

Just like selling a car (or anything for that matter) has a clear roadmap of how to get from the greeting to the finish line, making a friend is no different.

I’m not asking you to be disingenuous or smarmy (it’s a word, look it up).  I’m not asking you to lie or pretend to be someone you’re not.  

Here’s how you make friends

  1. Be ready to give to the relationship before you ask for anything
  2. Talk to people
  3. Learn about the other person by asking questions
  4. Be interested in their answers/show empathy
  5. Find some sort of common ground
  6. Remember what you’ve learned about the other person
  7. Stay in contact with the person
  8. Give.
  9. Give
  10. Give

Let’s dig into those a little more.

Be ready to give to the relationship before you ask for anything.

While you’re getting to know someone, you will likely be looking for ways to help each other out.  Always be looking for ways that you can contribute to the friendship.

Talk to people

Oversimplified?  Yes.  Sitting at your desk or hanging out with your buddies isn’t going to help you make friends and build relationships.  Get into the service department and try to make eye contact with someone.  If your eyes meet, stop over and just say “hi.”  Have a few questions prepared that you would ask someone you’ve just met.  Here’s a simple exchange:

“Hi!  I’m Glen.  I work over in the sales department.  I was just grabbing a cup of coffee.  Can I get you anything?  What kind of service work are you having done? ….. “

Learn about the other person by asking questions

Some people open up and spill their life story out all over you.  Others need encouragement.  A sales coach I was reading suggested that if you need help coming up with questions to ask use the acronym FORD.

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Dog (Pets)

Be interested in their answers

Always be ready with a follow-up question to encourage sharing.  

You: “Do you have much of a commute to work?”

Customer: “About a half-hour each way.”

You: “An hour in the car every day?  That makes the workday long.  What kind of work do you do?”
Customer: “I’m a garbage collector.”

You: “Wow!  Where would we be without you getting up every morning and doing your job, huh?  I’m sure glad you’re out there doing what you do!  Do you ride alone to work or does anyone else ride with you?”

….and you’re making a friend and learning how to sell them a car.

Find some sort of common ground.

You have something in common with everybody.  Find it.  

  • You know some of the same people / You want to know some of the same people.
  • You’ve driven through their neighborhood / You’ve wanted to drive through their neighborhood.
  • You’re familiar with the kind of work they do / You want to learn about the kind of work they do.
  • You’re familiar with their employer / You’re interested in what their employer does.

Remember what you’ve learned about the other person.

Not only will your ability to recall what you’ve learned help you sell the car now.  It will help you build a friendship.  

  • Did you learn that they take a particular road to work? Send them a text if you find out that there’s a traffic backup on that road.
  • Did you learn that their kid plays little league?  Watch for the league standings to be available and send an email to congratulate him.
  • Did you learn that they have a baby on the way?  Send them a note asking how everything is going.

Use a notepad, your CRM, a database, the back of an index card. Nobody is expecting you to remember it. Just have the ability to access the information on demand.

Stay in contact with the person.

This has been a common thread throughout this lesson

  • Give your friend a call.
  • Send your friend a note in the mail.
  • Send your friend a text.
  • Call your friend if you see they have a service appointment coming so you can buy them a cup of coffee.


  • Give your time.
  • Give them a world-class experience.
  • Give them your attention.
  • Give them your wisdom.
  • Give
  • Give 
  • Give

Work hard to make friends, and you won’t have to work very hard to do business with your friends.

If I can help, let me know

A quote by Glen Pavlovich.

This article originally appeared on

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