Last week I had a fantastic conversation with a professor who teaches sales and marketing on the university level. We discussed perception vs. reality in sales within our world which is full of real and wishful “influencers.”
Bottom line is influencers talk at their audience, as that is their deal, they influence. In the world of sales however influencing isn’t a long term plan, especially in business to business sales which was the topic of our discussion.
Sales is relational, unless you are operating with a ‘one and done’ attitude-big, but temporary gains. Building a business requires engaging with people and listening to their needs, challenges, etc. Like the saying goes, “people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” Sales is about listening and shining the spotlight on the customer not yourself. Most of us are already burned out on the barrage of social media showing us the greatness of others so hearing it from someone that wants you to give them money too isn’t an incentive to buy.
If you’ve ever networked you more often than not get the mini version of the difference between sales and attempted influencing. It is the reason many of us dial our networking back to the level of infrequent. Talking at me, pushing your product in my face and space while telling me your story doesn’t engage me, and rarely interests/engages others. A sale via that approach isn’t relational, it is more in the realm of ‘I’ll buy it if you please go away,’ a one and done exchange.
The professor I spoke with summed it up nicely explaining introverts are often the best sales people due to being good listeners. As an introvert I’m biased to believe his statement as gospel; however it does make sense as we reside in environments that often demand we focus outside of ourselves, as well as compare ourselves through media, social and otherwise. Selling is optimized when engagement is the priority. Selling is sustainable when the customer has an opportunity to feel accommodated.
As interactive social media continues to increase its marketplace impact, where does that leave the traditional web site? Should you have one? The answer is, ‘it depends.’
Yes, to a web site if you have a web site that weaves together other social media, as well as offers current information. If your site does, then you are on the right path. The benefit can equate to consumer confidence. Depending on price points and messaging, consumers often feel a level of comfort in a media source, in this case a web site, that has a more traditional stability.
No to a web site if you have a site that no longer looks contemporary, is out dated, and/or is not intuitive in navigation. Such a site will undermine and errode your brand.
Depending on the size of your organization, you may or may not have time to create and update all social media platforms. It is much better to err on targeting one or two and doing them well, rather than doing multiple platforms poorly.
I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin. This certainly isn’t the first quote of Godin’s that has surfaced within the blog posts on this site. While Mr. Godin is all about marketing, his thoughts expand far beyond just that topic.
I promise you, if you read his posts and/or books you’ll pull great information from them, and find them relevant beyond marketing. Godin’s work will contribute to building upon your current skill set, regardless of your field and/or focus.
The quote below, I believe, is a great piece, reminding managers and leaders of all sorts, that the goal of the organization, is greater than the goal of the individual, or heaven forbid, the individual’s ego.
The brief article, linked to below, is an interesting read regarding customer service, and includes this very valid statement, “There is only one customer, the one in front of you.”
Click here to read the article.
I believe both nonprofits as well as for profits often confuse sales, marketing and engagement. Or even more challenging weight engagement last. The fact is, without engagement of donors, clients or customers your sales and marketing have far less impact.
Social media absorbs so much of our time these days. One of the great draws of social media is it makes us feel engaged in both our own life and with others. It is easy, immediately gratifying and of little to no expense, monetarily to us. So that is your competition.
Sectors, let’s take the food industry, see market share shrinking, even though we’ve never seen more choices on the shelves. Why? Because the donor, client or consumer doesn’t care if you’ve created tens of options. In fact it can be feel oppressive to decide when we are already overwhelmed with a lengthy to do list. It reminds us you are thinking of everybody, and we want to feel special. What we want is immediate gratification and to feel as if you are speaking to us as individuals.
The day of mass marketing’s return on investment is coming to a close. If you can’t engage your target audience, making them feel as if you are talking only to them, or providing them with a special benefit, cost and/or return on their investment, quite frankly you are sunk.
Social media is here to stay and often I am asked the question of whether it is for marketing or fundraising. My answer is both as marketing and fundraising meld into one. If you are a small, or even medium sized nonprofit you are already understaffed so the trend of fund development melding with marketing should be good news…at least you can do them together. Easy and impactful ways of doing so will be included in upcoming posts.
Marketing and fundraising are all about messaging. They are about communicating with and engaging donors, not talking at them or trying to sell them. Social media is here to stay and not embracing it is the same as leaving money on the table. Luckily it can be utilized without a lot of expertise and without a lot of upfront investment. Low cost outreach…what’s not to love?! Network for Good has a great graphic, the one below, showing a ten year trend of online donations, and it only continues to grow.
I was reading a blog the other day about social media marketing. It occurred to me how similar social media marketing and connecting professionally/personally are. I believe two points in the blog post I read are particularly important to remember:
Numbers and quality should not be individualized. (If you lose quality you will eventually lose numbers.)
Frequency of engagement counts.
All this is to say if you are overextended and telling yourself you are “maximizing” your time, you are kidding yourself. Being over extended will lead to numbers overtaking quality and a lower sense of engagement from those you believe (falsely) you are connecting with. It really is that simple.
The blog referenced above follows:
“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.” ~Victor Kiam
Pull the trigger. There is a bigger risk than your perceived fear of failure. The biggest risk you take in not pulling the trigger is the risk of missing out completely to someone who did. Every moment you put off procrastinating picking up the phone or having a face to face conversation is a moment that your competitor moves forward.