Earlier today I reacted to a comment by @dmscott during the #PBLS10 (twitter hash) live web feed. He made a remark about not wanting to hear about “your product” in social media. Pimping your product – I believe is how he put it. I stated, I WILL sell online – we’re in a recession! @kdpaine also responded to me saying that “we” won’t buy from a pimp. I responded to her (see my twitter feed) and @dmscott replied to me as well. My lengthy response/remarks are below.
Believe it or not, I’m not a Harvard business grad. I don’t hold any certifications in marketing analytics, demographic forecasting, or any other extravagantly worded functions. I grew up in the automobile industry. That’s where I learned to sell, collaborate, build relationships, and become passionate about my business. Ground work set in by my grandfather and my father in our family business. Taught to provide great customer service experience and above all sell our product – so we could eat.
From Chevy’s To Websites
Quick trip down memory lane. My grandfather sold shoes door to door. He then sold tires and eventually started a used car dealership. Used cars turned into one of the first Mazda dealerships in the United States. Years later, the franchsie was sold for the Chevrolet and Cadillac brand. Fast forward through the highs and the lows – automobile industry is tanking and we sell out a few years before GM declares bankruptcy. We were a locally owned family business for nearly 50 years.
Today my father and I have come full circle again and we’re bootstrapping a design studio and media company – Slocum Design Studio. I’ve only recently come across influential marketers like Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and now David Scott. Forgive me if I’m a little green or naive to the Social Marketing scene – but I’ve been selling my products since AIM profile and away message days.
“Off to work. We have a great factory certified Chevy Silverado for sale. Just traded in – one owner. Call me or come by!”
I want to be clear: you can’t sell a product or service without quality rapport, good dialogue or a great relationship. Less of course someone is making the decision based on lowest price – that’s a whole other argument.
Hindsight is 20/20
I am addicted to Chris Brogan’s blog. I think the guy is great and makes me feel like I’m not THAT far off the mark. I soak up the material he writes about, speaks about in events like the #PBLS10, and in his webinars.
@DMscott and @kdpaine – I think (for the very short time I’ve known you) it’s easy for you to tell people about creating quality relationships and taking the seemingly slow nurtured approach.
Why? Because you’re already at the next level. Probably well established in your own right. I commend you for it.
However, I think it’s a bit disheartening as marketers to mentor others about the slow approach. As a small business – hell, micro-business – it’s about my bottom line. I need to sell in order seize the short opportunity I have in an enormously competitive market. My clients also expect me to do the same for them. We work hard. To provide for our customers and our family.
Think back when you first started off – I’m sure you were handing out business cards and knocking on as many doors as you could. I for one think that “door to door” salesmen are back. This time it’s via Social Media. Let’s face it, @kdpaine you responded to my last comment with a link to your blog where I could buy your book and @dmscott you’re responding to build rapport with me to possibly sway me to buy your services.
Our relationship was only a few @reply exchanges and you started to sell to me. Hey, I’m down with that. Maybe I will – I already gave Chris $27USD for his Webcast and I’ve been following him for no more than 60 days!
I think it’s OK to sell yourself online and in social media. Matter of fact – it’s a must.
Bootstrapped micro-business startups are dependant on the bottom line and need to see customers “walking through the door” to measure results. I know because that’s what my clients tell me and pay me to do. I think that once your brand or company is rolling, supporting client relations and retention through SM is fine with the slow approach.
I’m not talking about setting up your Tweetdeck account with a ton of keyword searches to spam people looking for your services. I’m talking about providing help to someone, striking up conversation and building that relationship.
I will however, give you my card, shake your hand and ask if it’s OK to follow up later on – because I do want to make a sale.
Please let me know if you do not agree. I’m no where near an expert in Social Media marketing – I’m just working hard to try and get results.