Appointment setting is still normally a one on one process. The person your marketers and salespeople engage with may represent the interests of their company. However, they’re still just one representative.

But of course, there are cases when more than on decision maker has been brought on board for the sales appointment. This makes for longer meetings but still not too difficult (especially for expert sales reps).

What can make it tricky though is if there’s more between those people besides the business itself.

You’ve heard much caution against it many times. Still, it’s a growing reality that close friends, family, and personal relationships get tied to the business life. Just what causes these situations? Do these close-knit groups come in types? What should you consider beyond the basic requirements of budget, authority, and time?

The different kinds of family

Family-run businesses

If small businesses are your niche, then it’s very likely you’ve already dealt with family-run businesses. Father. Mother. Son. Daughter. It doesn’t matter which of them is in charge. So long as they’re the ones keeping it all together, anything that puts the business on the line can put the family on the line.

That’s the risky thing when you’re trying to market something to just one of them. Call it nepotism all you want (even though that in of itself isn’t as bad it sounds). You won’t win their trust unless you win the trust of the whole clan. The costs of whatever it is you’re offering could weigh down on their personal lives.

Those with a history

It’s not just biological families that can be close-knit. You also have people who have worked with the same people for years. Sure, they may have seen one or two lay-offs but that pales in comparison to those who’ve stayed. That’s a lot of time for a lot of camaraderie to settle in.

It also increases the chance that personal decisions will impact buyer behavior more than just budget or needs. Ever watched Ben Stiller’s take on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Its plot paints a good picture of business that, despite losing to a more efficient model, emphasizes the importance of the people who used to run it for a long time.

Those with friends in a lot of places

Sometimes, the history comes before the office. Ever heard of networking? It’s been around for a long time and sites like LinkedIn only demonstrate that the technology is catching up.

With the way people use social connections to land jobs, it wouldn’t be surprising if you found a whole gang working in the same company. And when it comes to friendships, there’s a lot of culture involved. For example, look to cases where immigrants help each other find jobs. Communities inside a company can be born that way. It then also follows that setting appointments with one will have at least a few more representing the gang’s best interests.

Not all businesses are siloed organizations with a stoic and impersonal work force. And thus, it only follows that your appointment setting process shouldn’t just stick to those that are. Understand the bonds that have been in place if you wish your business to form a bond with theirs.