You don’t have to build relationships to sell things. McDonalds is sinking over $100 Million USD into their McCafe program, because they expect sales of those products to account for $1 Billion in sales. Do you think they give a rat’s anus about getting to know me? Not at all. Will their efforts work? I’m guessing yes. Even if they miss that Billion mark, it will be a pretty decent ROI in the end for their efforts. (We like coffee.)
But relationships are a choice. I can choose to build relationships because I want a longer term sales experience with you. For instance, I was talking with @moniquewade on Twitter, and she was asking me if the Trust Agents community on Facebook was just a way to market the book. I replied, “The idea is this: relationships sell better than typical marketing. If you are PART of Trust Agents, it’s better than selling.”
I went on to say, “Exactly so. I’m not selling a book. That’s just the byproduct, the souvenir. I’m sharing access and interaction. For free!”
My Marketing Mindset for Trust Agents
In thinking about marketing this book, Julien and I built a Trust Agents community over on Facebook. It (like a lot of what I do) is an experiment. We wondered if people wanted to talk about trust and how different trust is in the online world. As of this writing, we have over 1500 people participating in conversations, and sharing their thoughts.
Why bother, if all I want to do is sell a book? But that’s it. I don’t want to sell a book. I want to build a relationship that lasts much longer than a book. Yes, I’d love it if you buy a book. Julien and I worked very hard on it. We put a lot of our beliefs into it. We’ve spent months working on it, and we’d love for you to buy anywhere from one to 200 copies. But that’s not the point.
We want to know you. We want to talk with you. We want you to call us out when we’re wrong, and to tell us how to improve. We want to hear how you’re doing, and we want to interact.
Why? Because we feel that a trust agent uses the secret skill that we call being a “Human Artist,” and that knowing how best to build relationships of value is something best demonstrated instead of just being this thing we wrote about in a book.
Relationship marketing takes lots more effort, but I’m banking on the fact that you and I have much more between us than your $20 for our book.
Is One Better Than the Other?
Hell no, and punch the person who tells you it’s all about the relationships. When I drive into McDonalds, I order a large iced coffee with milk and one Splenda. I don’t care what McDonalds does wrong or right. They don’t care about me. It’s just a transaction, and it works just great. I am VERY aware of their new ad campaign, and I’m sure it’s driving more sales. It works great for them.
Could I sell Trust Agents without building relationships? Hell yes. There are lots of ways to mechanically get that book moved. Is that how I’ve chosen to do it? No. I much prefer the relationships.
The point is simple: choose. If you want to build relationships as part of your marketing, that’s very do-able. If you want to have a more transactional approach, that’s fine, too. But don’t attempt relationships and then hope for transactional returns.
And always be clear on your ask. If you’re building relationships ONLY to market, that’s just a longer haul transaction. Be clear if you’re asking someone for something, or if you’re just making friends. It helps on all fronts.
Thoughts From You?
What’s your take?