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Our Thinking

Cultivating Credibility: Trust Takes Time

How long does it take to make a sale?  And is it faster using traditional marketing and sales techniques, or Social Media-based ones?

In traditional marketing and sales, advertising informs prospective customers about a product or service. Those who have a need show up and make their purchase. In the more sophisticated business-to-business sales process, it’s pretty much the same: find prospects and tell them about your products and services.  Address their objections.  Those who are ready to buy will buy, while others won’t. The whole paradigm is based on identifying prospects, informing them, and selling them.

Social Media marketing is based on engagement – the conversation – and developing the relationship. Only when the relationship is strong enough – when there is trust – will there be a possibility of a sale.

Some implications:

  • Trust takes time. As they are getting to know you, they will identify your capabilities. Contrast this with traditional marketing, where expertise leads, and then relationship follows.
  • Social Media “sales” are more pull than push. It’s more likely that they will initiate the sales process when they are ready – after all, they know their needs better than you ever will.
  • You still need to ask for the sale (sort of). Asking for the sale prematurely may do more harm than good. But exposing your expertise over time within the context of a two-way, non-broadcast relationship, is a far more powerful implicit ask.  (This is precisely why I have written these posts for the last half decade.  Many of my prospects and clients reach out after reading a concept I describe here.)

This week’s action plan: Do any of your Social Media activities shout Buy Me? Or do they seek to improve your credibility and grow your relationship? This week, make sure everything you do falls into the second category – not the first. How long does it take to make a sale?  It depends on how quickly you earn it.  Trust takes Time.