Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Invest in Relationship, Do not Mislead

Once in awhile, I receive inquiries from Facebook connections on how they can be more effective in selling product or service business ideas to individuals where their success or effectiveness will rely largely on the use of social media.
Pitching their product or service is usually done via briefings, face to face meetings, and arranged via online private messages. These are usually online contacts and those met in social media public groups.
Here are some tips that comes to mind:
1. What’s on your Facebook timeline? How do you want to be perceived by people? Selling a product or service usually starts with you as the person. Selling yourself to the point that you can be trusted.
But sometimes, this is not enough. There are those who do share inspirational stuff online but when the events below happen, it becomes a disaster and contradicts to what they are projecting about themselves.
2. Show the product or service idea works for you. Try the product or service and show that it works. If you are selling an e-commerce site subscription, show that you also have your own site (or a project showcase) and it is working. Otherwise, selling an idea won’t be sustainable in the long run if you will not be able to demonstrate that it really works.
3. Invest in relationship. Do not mislead. Last night, I saw this message in my inbox. 
I removed reference to time, place, gender, amount to avoid identification.

I thank my online connection for the kind note and did not ask who the person was.
This online connection sent me private messages a few months back asking for advise on how to go about social media marketing. I gave links to our free learning modules online on digital marketing and e-commerce.
However, this message got me thinking --- and encouraged me to do this post.
From what I understood on the message sent, my connection accepted an invite from a “persona x” who will share updates on social media marketing. Especially so as “persona x” just came from a conference.
However, after 30 minutes of introduction, “persona x” perhaps zoomed into a pitch where the product or service idea includes recruiting people, using online, and making them invest a significant sum.
I am sure that “persona x” has the best intentions and may even be successful with the product or service being marketed. But if that is not what the person came for, it is a big gamble and may even cause more damage than good.
4. Be selective, listen, and know when to “back-off”. Lately, I met several persons marketing an online service or an actual product that also requires interested individuals to invest a significant sum. Some on the real estate and insurance fields. Let me refer to them as “persona y”.
“Persona y” was experiencing difficulty in conversions and asked for advise. I suggested to tap into certain type of bloggers who can experience or see the product or service. Write about it and share it via social media. They can negotiate a professional fee to do it and if possible, give them commission for successful sign-ups too.
“Persona y” agreed with the idea and I referred one who might be able to help. Talked to my referral and gave ideas on how to go about the deal.
But after a week, my referral gave negative feedback as “persona y” did not follow the idea originally discussed and instead pitched the investment.
Or in some cases, “persona y” would not want to pay the professional fee and just want to give a straight commission.
My referrals would often decline right there and give a counter-offer instead that will compensate their efforts. After a week, “persona y” would text to follow-up and my referral had to decline again.
I felt sad after hearing it and realized why they may have a hard time hitting conversions. Meetings will always boil down to what they want to say and failed to listen to the other party.
5. Guard your reputation It takes years to build a good reputation and one bad move to ruin it. More so when it involves taking money from people and the product or service did not work as promised. Or the income promised was not realized as the product or service was too hard to sell.
Or not paying people after fulfilling their part of the agreement.
6. Seek advise from experienced practitioners It is ideal to get as many inputs as possible from various individuals, whom you like on how they conduct themselves and seem to be successful, on how you can improve your craft. 
Share what you are doing and seek feedback on how to improve it. For those that turned you down, selectively, ask what they don't like about the offer or on more straightforward note - what turned them off.
7. Be genuine, be authentic. You can't fake it. Each failure is supposed to help you in becoming better. As you find the right product or service where you want to be identified ---- your passion, knowledge, and testimonial on the product or service effectiveness, rather than its income potential alone, will be the best pitch. 
You will reach a level of authenticity where what you experience about the product or service (as you grow with it), though may be not perfect, will be genuine and credible enough to convince your target to convert or purchase.