The Wall Street Journal featured an interesting article last week on the upcoming IPO of Facebook. The founder and employees stand to make a lot of money from the IPO, and I am good with that. It’s called capitalism at work.
What I found really interesting was the discussion around Mr. Makan, a wealth manager with Morgan Stanley. He is advising many of the Facebook executives on their money matters. Yes, he has an M.B.A. from Wharton and it appears that he has earned an M.B.A. in relationship building.
Mr. Makan started developing relationships with the Facebook executives long before they were famous. Part of his practice is putting his own money alongside that of his clients in early stage companies. That is certainly a sign to your customer that says, “I believe in you and your vision.”
Kevin Hartz, co-founder of Eventbrite, is also a client. He values the personal relationships Mr. Makan builds with his clients. His exact quote from the Wall Street Journal was, “I don’t view him as a portfolio manager, I view him as a trusted friend who has helped me with a lot of different things.” Notice the quote didn’t expound on Mr. Makan’s financial acumen. It focused on his interpersonal skills.
So what’s the lesson for all of us? Likeability and interpersonal skills are still important in sales. It’s important that salespeople have great business acumen and selling skills. It’s also important that salespeople possess soft skills, emotional intelligence skills, which are valuable in building relationships.
How much formal education have you received on being likeable? Have you ever taken a test to see how you score on building relationships?
Take a lesson from Mr. Makan and build relationships. It will open up more opportunities and close more sales.