There is feeling in sales that you shouldn’t sell someone one thing now, you should sell someone ten things over time. It is a great idea. The problem with old-fashions sales is that the salesperson and the customer only saw each other when either side had something they needed to buy or the other had something they had to sell. These relationships had a singular purpose. Quite often sales people wound up with a reputation for only being interested in making a sale, which, face it, is true. It is their job to do that and they have a very finite window or opportunity while that potential customer is listening to them. They are not going to waste that time with anything but the sale itself.
Old school advertising is pretty much the same thing. There is a message that needs to get across, but the message is only moving in one direction: at the potential customer.
As with so many things in this ultra-connected world, the internet changed everything. With the advent of social media it is no longer the case where messages are only moving in one direction. With services like Twitter and Facebook, people are reaching out and connecting with friends and family forming relationships that in previous generations would have been impossible mostly due to distance. People are connecting in real time with others all over the globe.
When businesses started to use social media as another way to build relationships with their potential customers, they realized that when they sent a message out there, the people were responding. They were responding right away and they weren’t always responding in the manner which was expected. Sometimes the response was negative. Some businesses were smart and they responded. They might not have changed the message, but they responded. With that response, a new generation of interactive advertising was born. Businesses learned that in order to successfully utilize social media, they had to have conversations with people. They had to respond even at the one-on-one level. Those companies that put messages out in social media and did not respond to comments also learned a very quick lesson. The social media pages for those businesses became very hostile. That open line of communication can work for you and it can also very quickly turn against you.
The axiom about selling 10 things over a lifetime is correct in that it means you have to build relationships with your customers. With social media, it is not only good practice, but it is vital that you not only build a relationship, you have to nurture it as well. You are not in front of your customer only when they need to buy. The message is not being broadcast out at 30 or 60 second intervals. Your message is out there at all times. People are out there as well. And they have keyboards.