I was at a networking meeting recently and I was having a discussion with an ex accountant who was running a business and struggling to find new customers. I have nothing against accountants – I was one of them once.

Anyway, I normally get on with everyone I meet but I found this person to be very cold and unapproachable. It was as if he was holding people at arms length, never allowing them to get close. His way of interacting with people may have been appropriate for auditing but in business development it was really holding him back.

Selling services is all about relationships. People buy you first before they buy your services. If you cannot let go and open up a little then you will struggle to get the kind of trust and relationship that will lead to referrals and business.

Sometimes the most useful books in selling are not about selling at all. ‘How to win friends and influence people’ by Dale Carnegie is one of those. It should be at the top of the reading list of anyone interested in soft selling. How do I know? Because 15 years ago I was incredibly shy and not very good with people at all. The book became on of my core influences for Soft Selling and even though I have never attended any Dale Carnegie sales training I understand there is a very close connection to Soft Selling because of the underlying principles that its all about relationships.

If you find yourself finding relationships difficult then I recommend you become a student in relationships and start by reading Dale Carnegie’s excellent book several times and put it into action. You will not regret it!