The lessons I learned selling newspaper subscriptions as a kid
My first official job ever was selling newspaper subscriptions and delivering newspapers back in Texas in the early 90s.
Each week I would visit homes that had expressed interest in getting the newspaper delivered each morning and one thing I learned very quickly is the less I talked about the subscription and the more I talked about the neighborhood, weather, politics and other general subjects, the higher my closing rate. At the time I was rolling in the dough for a teenager working just a few hours a week, so not a bad gig at all. I'm convinced that most of my sales were made by listening and talking, instead of closing.
Now, I've been blessed to own an agency that offers revenue growth and online relevance to businesses domestically and abroad, through marketing options, website development, social media management and branding solutions. We like to think of ourselves as a relationship platform with hundreds of satisfied customers in every corner of the world.
In the last 30 years society has experienced a technological revolution that has dramatically changed the way we interact, represent our businesses and grow our revenue. We live in a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, mass email blasts and chatbots that have taken the place of small talk.
Even thou some may accuse me of being "Old-School" on some things, I know
change is necessary, and under most circumstances, beneficial to our personal and professional lives, but I also know that we may often confuse efficiency with effectiveness, specially in the world of growing our businesses. My competitors who offer digital marketing and social media management often boast about metrics that end up being meaningless if your revenue is not growing. In the race to try to automate sales we have lost a lot of the humanity and interpersonal skills that once were considered the art-of-selling.
I'm not suggesting to bring back our Rolodex, and manage appointments in a classic leather-bound agenda, but there was something in the personalization and attention behind that approach that cannot be matched by digital brute force, volume and automation.
Let's bring back the human side
There is a buzzword commonly used by businesses and salespeople alike called "social selling", where we utilize social media to find clients and customers to build dialogue and make sales. But what this buzz misses is the fact that social selling is not new at all. As a matter of fact it goes back to a much simpler time where your human side was necessary to close deals.
A recent, comprehensive report from LinkedIn shows that 78% of "social sellers" outsell their peers who don't use social media. They enjoy 45% more sale opportunities than others, and 51% are more likely to meet their goals or sales quotas.
People like to buy from people. Whether you are selling newspaper subscriptions, coffee, books, construction services or global logistics, everyone appreciates the human interaction and genuine attention. They recognize the agencies that take the time and effort to build that relationship.
The problem with this, of course, is that it takes time. As business owners, we are always busy trying to meet sales goals and grow our revenue. Sharing relevant social media updates, finding and responding to comments, and keeping track of dozens, if not hundreds of leads across all social media and online platforms can very easily get overwhelming.
Being human, at scale
But this is exactly where technology can be your biggest ally, not to remove the human element from the equation, but to put it back in. A relevant online marketing campaign can tackle all the logistics that go along with social selling, and it frees up more time for you, as a business owner to just connect.
The ultimate goal from any client relationship, whether we are in 1917 or 2017 is to build trust over time. To create and nourish that fine line between friend, trusted advisor and business associate. An effective online marketing campaign starts the commitment process which can then be humanized in a variety of ways. If there is one certainty is that just plastering sales across social media is not going to take you anywhere quick. An effective online marketing campaign will create opportunities to have technology pave the way for the interaction to be more human, not less so.
Would you like to grow your business the right way? Are you needing help with social media management, SEO, website development, branding or mobile app development? DS&P is here to pave the way for your long-term success. Fill out the form below and I will personally get your input. Let's discuss your needs.
Owner & Managing Director