3 Relationship Secrets from a Salesman

Whether we realize it or not, we're all selling something.

Whether we realize it or not, we are all selling something. As a husband, father, mentor, and business owner, there are three principles that I learned from my past sales roles that I regularly apply to my daily life. I use these techniques throughout my day, whether I'm persuading my kids to go to bed on time, convincing friends to meet at my favorite lunch spot, or getting my A/C company to call me back. On top of that, I find myself using these same ideas in the boardroom, while placing my bets on new product investments or negotiating big deals with strategic partners.


In the end, the strength of any negotiation is largely dependent upon the strength of your relationship with those involved. So, when it comes to successfully navigating everyday negotiations, just like any good salesperson, you'll need a few skills to help you develop authentic and meaningful relationships.

While relationships are highly complex, I've found that a positive outcome is almost always achieved when I keep these three secrets in mind:

  1. Say YES. When you're presented with an idea that's different than your own, instead of shooting it down, try saying yes. By saying yes, you're positioned to quickly create common ground while proving that you're open to another perspective. This type of flexibility is a vital quality that helps develop trust and respect in your relationships, because it communicates to the other party that you truly value their point of view. You can further develop your understanding of the other person's ideas by using validating phrases while the other person is speaking, like "I hear you," or "I get that." Then, you can follow up with an open-ended question such as, "What do you think about____?", "Why did you____?", or "Tell me about____." These conversational techniques are simple and they will do wonders for how respected, and therefore, safe, the other person feels as you're getting to know each other. By opening yourself up to new ideas, you're setting up the relationship in a way that will allow you to share your own ideas or participate in the activity of your choice in the future. If you're like me, you'll really enjoy the new experiences you get to have along the way - like volunteering to pack food for the hungry, trying that Ethiopian restaurant you drive by all the time, or agreeing to a late night (and high calorie) ice cream meet up with a friend.

  2. Show Up (and Shut Up) Once you've said yes, you still need to follow through on the commitment you just made. It is far too easy to back out of your plans these days, and bailing on people is a sure-fire way to damage the perception of your reliability and ultimately the integrity of your developing relationship. So, show up! Be present and be yourself. Then, once you've shown up - shut up! In other words, really listen to the other person. If you're willing to be a good listener, be consistent with your follow-up, and be responsive along the way, then you're taking the critical trust-building steps that will set you apart from the crowd.

  3. Get Personal Selling isn't a transactional process, it's relational. The truth is, people tend to do business with the people they like and the businesses they trust. This same idea applies to your daily interactions as well. The quickest way to make a personal connection with people is to be genuinely curious about their life. As Dale Carnegie famously said, "Be interested, not interesting."

The secrets behind successful selling, networking, and negotiating look a lot like the qualities of a good friend, trustworthy leader, loving parent, and faithful spouse. That's because when it comes to negotiating your way through life, the most valuable assets you can acquire are the relationships you've developed with the time that you have.


when it comes to negotiating your way through life, the most valuable assets you can acquire are the relationships you've developed with the time that you have.

Spend your time staying open to new ideas and being genuinely interested in the lives of the people around you. Because at some point, you might realize that the real secret to a successful life is less about what you know and the things you've accomplished, and more about who you know, the relationships you've developed, and the lessons you've learned along the way.

Let's Talk! I have two questions for you... What do you need to say "yes" to in your life?

  1. How has "saying yes," "showing up" and "getting personal" produced a positive outcome in your life?

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About the Author: Brian Roland is a social entrepreneur and Founder of Abenity, the 6x Inc. 5000 company that's powering corporate perks for top brands like U.S. Bank and Mastercard. While Abenity provides millions of subscribers with private discounts, the company's social mission is fighting extreme poverty with every program they deliver. Abenity recently exceeded $1 million dollars of total giving and hired a CEO to accelerate growth with their fully remote team. Brian lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his family and enjoys roasting coffee, flying drones, and helping impact-driven entrepreneurs establish a social mission of their own.