Fast Company has a nice article about a company that does makes selling as soft as it possibly can.
If you're one of Ron Kelly's regular customers, you probably know that he's 35 and has a wife named Michelle, a 9-year-old son named Andrew, and a German shepherd named Bones. You know that he majored in journalism and poly sci at SIU (that's Southern Illinois University) and was supposed to attend Northwestern's law school, but instead came to work at CDW (that's Computer Discount Warehouse). You know that he bleeds red and black for the Chicago Blackhawks.
You also know that he knows as much, if not more, about you.
Kelly, an affable account manager, is a master at relationship-based selling, which is CDW's specialty. It's the nonsales sales call: two friends catching up before eventually turning to a little business. Customers love it. "He's my sales rep, but he's also my friend," says Todd Greenwald, director of operations for Heartland Computers, which sells bar-code scanners. "Most of the time we don't even talk about price. I trust Ron."
TRUST. That is a powerful word, and somewhat rare in sales. How many of your customers can say that about one of your sales reps?