Many entrepreneurs cringe at the thought of selling to their personal connections in the early days of their business; yet,  those first few family and friends sales can be worth their weight in gold IF they’re handled with care!

Because of the deep personal connection that you share, family and friends are already invested in your success and can become your best source of referrals in your early growth stages and beyond… 

I’ve seen this happen countless times in my clients’ careers, but no one embodies this entrepreneurial experience quite like Washington D.C.-based jeweler, Christine Lupo.  

Christine can trace the success of her brilliant 20 years in business right back to her very first 5 clients. 

So how can you take a page out of Christine’s book and set the tone for success in your first few sales?

  • Let those around you know that you are open for business.

Right from the beginning, share your business plans with your personal network where you already have the strong know-like-trust factor that compels clients to say YES to doing business with you. 

Even if you don’t believe that there are people in your personal network who need your goods or services, you never know who they know and might refer you to!

  • Treat family and friends with the same care as any other client.

    This is not the time to cut yourself some slack simply because your family and friends will be more apt to understand the struggles of a start-up. Similarly, you do not have to honor requests for discounted services from someone you share a personal connection with.

Hold yourself to the same high standards that you would with any other client and let that be a two-way street.

  • Follow up after your work together is finished (and stay in touch!)

Having a post-sale process that includes following up lets your friends and family know that you care deeply about the business relationship you’re creating together and provides you with valuable insight about what worked well so you can continue to duplicate that success.

To make this truly effective, don’t just follow up once. Stay in touch to create a sense of lasting connection that keeps you top of mind whenever they (or their family and friends) need the goods or services you expertly provide. 

At the end of the day, business is truly all about the relationships you form, and armed with this 3-part framework, you’ll be on your way to gaining return sales and referrals in a way that feels good for you and your clients — yes, even the ones who might share your last name!

Kathleen Cutler, a luxury sales expert, gets high-end brands paid what they are worth and coaches them on how to close high networth clients. She holds the key to making younger, but affluent, audiences buy. Using her graduate diamond degree and her decade of experience in the jewelry industry, she's refined her skills with 7-figure brands to combine modern technology with retro-style relationship building - making sure no sales slip through the cracks. Kathleen is also a writer and speaker who has been featured in Rapaport, NYCJewelryWeek, INSTORE, Atlanta Jewelry Show, NYNow, and National Jeweler.