Three things caught my eye this week:
- This video (click here). Watch it but if it bores you go to the 3:00 mark and listen. You will hear an incredible phrase.
- Danny Brown posted a killer article on his blog today. If you don’t know him now’s your chance. His ideas and writing, specifically on the topic of how we are influenced as an on-line culture, always keep me thinking about how the internet affects how we work.
- TheJackB another one of those great bloggers who is becoming one of my go to guys wrote a spectacular article about social media and the core of its being. Go see what the core is.
Now, you may say to yourself, so what?
You may not be active in social media and thereby may question how this article may even relate to you.
Well, I cited these three examples because they deal directly with the idea of selling. And, surprise my friend, no matter what you do, you have to sell.
So, here’s my take on those examples.
The first is a video directly about selling and geared toward offering insight about aligning business strategy and sales. The key thing about this video while not overt but obvious is that people deal better with people through face to face interaction. “In the field”. The idea reinforced here is that many strategies fail because they neglect aligning what happens naturally out in the field and rely too heavily on leadership being behind a desk.
The second discusses the difference between the “influencer” and the “instigator”. Semantics maybe but the important theme in this article is the idea that influence has been measured by numbers alone and is reactionary to metrics based on the fluctuation of numbers. The ying to that yang, and yes I believe they are related, is that the success factors of business may be shifting to the instigator. The person who will show opposing sides of an argument, debate the validity of a product, idea or precept and heaven forbid take a stand. Why is this important? Because it’s about opinion, thought and conversation. The only way that can happen is though engagement.
This leads me to the third. Mr. Jack Steiner who so eloquently said that the only thing in social media that matters is the people. Hell, without people there would be no social media.
And if you have been here often enough you know there’s always a butt of one type of another sitting around waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
Back to the topic at hand.
Now, I am not a sales guy at heart but in the industry I work there is a strong necessity to always be looking for an opportunity to sell. Probably like most but for some reason in the A+D world it permeates all levels of responsibility.
Now, I happen to agree with Jack, Danny and all the other great bloggers out there that when you are building or representing a brand on-line you can’t simply be a slave to the numbers. You have to engage people. The trick that the really good brand advocates, marketers, sales oriented people or internet entrepreneurs do is engage people without really pushing them to buy. They see the opportunity to offer their knowledge to help their customers form their own opinions and are there to help them along the way. Is it passive? Maybe but you can bet that’s not the ONLY thing they are doing to get business. No one hangs their hat on one strategy. To me, engagement is an example and a relevant one.
Hey, I am not here to argue the merits and strategies to brand engagement on the internet.
It’s not my bailiwick.
But I do have to sell. Just like you. That’s why this stuff interests me.
Where do we spend most of our time?
Unfortunately, in front of a computer. At least I do. Interaction is part of my job and it is the way most forms of business communication happen these days. Yeah, sure I am mobile but let’s face it, like me, most of you are not that up to speed that we can be as productive as we are at out desk. The thing is with the A+D industry we have to sell our ideas and the real influence happens across a table in the old school analog form of communication. We pitch. Let’s face it; the world is still largely reliant on the idea of interaction in real time with people in front of you. It’s the way things get understood. We can express our passion, ideas and thoughts in a way that the virtual world may get to but will never be able to emulate in the same way.
After a year of blogging (I know it’s not a long time), I have not yet been able to get the same impact as when I can see, hear and really talk with someone directly; face to face.
The HBR video at the beginning of this post opines that deals are made out there in the world and not behind a desk.
Now, there are many sides to selling and a one sided argument is not what I am getting at here. Sure you need both to really reach your market. Click here to read an excellent approach to an on-line strategy to engage clients and customers. What you may realize is that this approach is truly social and that’s what the HBR video is getting at just in a different way.
We are, after all, talking about engaging people here, right?
That has to be the key to each approach; virtual or real. I think the thing that the virtual world helps us to reinforce is that networking is difficult no matter what approach you take and that you have to work hard to build relationships. The same goes for the real world and it’s just as challenging. Neither will allow you to commoditize the people you are selling to no matter how you dress it up.
So, we know that we need both.
Without the precept of social media we cannot reach as many people and without real face to face interaction it is so much harder to close the deal. We just have to remember that even though social media can bring us massive exposure that the people at the other end of the screen have not changed in any way that will allow you to treat them like commodities and expect to have them engage with you.
When you feel like you have been heard how does that make you feel?
What about when someone calls you when you have an issue or have purchased a product? In a very non-affiliate way this is exactly how Aweber Communications has made me feel. That’s right! When I signed up a guy called me to thank me for buying their service and ask if I had any questions.
Now that’s cool.
I felt special. Small things but it’s huge because I am not just another sale to these guys. That taught me a huge lesson.
- Thanks to the HBR for their great content. It is KING!
- Thanks to Danny Brown for telling it like it is.
- Thanks to Jack Steiner for being real.
And I want to give a special thanks to someone out there who knows how to sell because they see people for what they really are.
Now it’s your turn.
What do you think about you role in on-line engagement and its relationship to the real world?