Should You Sell to Your Friends?

Michele Warg
Posted by in Sales

When you take a job in sales, you have a responsibility to make as many sales as possible. Many people attempt to increase sales by selling to friends. They assume that their friends are more receptive to their product pitches than strangers and that selling to friends is a good way to make a few extra sales. However, this strategy sometimes causes more problems than it solves.

Selling to friends is an effective sales strategy if you are selling a product that is designed to meet a specific need. If your product includes a unique offering that is likely to improve your friends' lives, your friends are likely to be more receptive to your sales pitch. This often means targeting your sales pitches towards a few specific friends, such as pitching kitchen appliances to friends who just bought a new house, instead of making the same sales pitch to every friend you know.

Selling to friends is also an effective sales strategy if your friends understand that saying "no" does not mean losing the friendship. If your friends feel pressured to purchase your product, you may close the sale but lose the friendship. Keep the boundaries between your personal and professional relationships intact and avoid giving your friends the high-pressure sell.

Some types of sales jobs rely on selling to friends. Think of the cosmetic, jewelry and household goods companies that ask sales representatives to host parties in friends' homes in the hopes that these close relationships will encourage people to buy. These types of multilevel marketing companies are good ways for people to make extra money but are inherently unsustainable. At some point, your friends have all the cosmetics, jewelry, or household goods they need and become tired of your sales pitches.

Other sales jobs cultivate large lead databases that represent optimum potential customers. In these jobs, it is inappropriate to try to sell to your friends along with the company-approved leads. A lot of market research goes into lead cultivation, and telling your supervisor that you want to sell to your friends in addition to the company's sales leads shows your company that you do not understand how lead generation and cultivation works.

One of the best ways of selling to friends is not to sell to them directly. Instead, simply mention that you are now working for company X and selling product Y. The friends who are interested in this product are likely to ask you for more information. You are able to close sales with the friends who are most interested in your product without running the risk of alienating other friends with a high-pressure sales pitch.

Selling to friends is a great way to increase sales and share quality products with people close to you. However, giving your friends the hard sell is a great way to lose friendships. When selling to friends, keep the sales pitch casual, target only the friends most likely to use your product and consider waiting for your friends to come to you.


(Photo courtesy of (photostock)/


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