I know most of you have heard the line before: PEOPLE DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE THEY LIKE AND TRUST.

This is how businesses define SALES and RELATIONSHIPS within the SALES PROCESS.

For the most part, I am torn by this statement. I do agree with the overall concept of this saying, but I think it is somewhat flawed. I will try and explain. 

A few years ago, I had a mentor spend two hours with me discussing friendships and what is a TRUE friend. He told me that if I had more than five TRUE friends, then I didn’t know what a true friend was. He defined a true friend as someone that I speak to at least once a month, and who I spend time with on an individual basis at least four times a year. As I thought through this definition, I quickly weeded out the majority of people that I considered to be true friends. In fact, I had less than 5!

That conversation really spoke to me. I realized that I had a lot of acquaintances, but in the end, only a few people that I really considered to be my friend. I actually gained comfort that day, because I realized that it was okay that I invested most of my time with just a few people, and it was okay that I wasn’t “spreading the love” to what turned out to be a lot of really good acquaintances. 

Now, if I were to take this into the business world, I start to question the word LIKE that is used in the sales definition described above. What does like mean, really??? Can some truly LIKE you without really knowing you?

I quickly created my own definition around sales and redefined what “relationships” meant for my company.


When I truly understood that getting people to like me was NOT part of the sales process, my meetings with potential customers became so much more impactful. Instead if trying to get them to like me . . . I was trying to find ways to earn their respect. 

How do you earn respect? It happens when you are looking to any way to provide VALUE to the other person, even if there is ZERO benefit provided to you. When you come from a place of wanting to help that person, that person tends to respect you for that. 

Then, if I found a way to gain their trust, I ended up gaining opportunities to work with them in business. 

At Alliance, we spend our time building relationships by trying to earn respect and gain trust. We do this with our customers, our candidates, and with each other. Internally, I expect all members of Alliance to maintain a strong focus on value creation. When someone is not showing that they are here to add value, then I know they aren’t committed to how we define relationships.

What do you think? Do people want to work with someone they LIKE or someone they can RESPECT?