The Worlds Largest Social Sales Force

by Jay Deragon on 11/24/2010

In the old days companies hired sales people to sell their products and services.  Today we are all the sales force.

Jack Loechner, writes in MediaPost Research Brief: If advertising is created to sell a product, service or even an idea, it’s helpful if the message is not only clear but also believable to the intended audience. According to a new Adweek Media/Harris Poll of 2,098 U.S. adults surveyed online in October, only one in five American adults say they trust that advertising is honest in its claims all or most of the time.

If buyers don’t trust sellers then sellers need to learn how to build trust. Trust isn’t something you build simply by creative messages and media rather trust is built from relational attributes created from engagement. It has become obvious that applying old methods to advertising and marketing is not the means for creating relational attributes.

So How Can Sellers Reach Buyers Without Advertising?

Consider:

  1. In terms of the impact of social networks on advertising, word of mouth is the popular option with 78% of customers trust peer recommendations on sites. While, only 14% trust advertisements.
  2. Advertising has also been impacted greatly because of social media with only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive return on investment.
  3. 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are linked to user-generated content

On the other end of the spectrum marketers are trying to learn how to sell their goods and services through conversations, theirs and ours. While all things social appear to be a medium to extend a marketing message the reality is that “all things social” really represents a much bigger dynamic of change than just a change in the way brands and merchants reach buyers.

The Bigger Dynamic of Change

Just recently The Economist came out with a feature article titled “A World of Connections: A special report on social networking“. The article states “Online social networks are changing the way people communicate, work and play, and mostly for the better, says Martin Giles. The ultimate goal, he wrote, was to come up with something that, ?first and foremost, would make it easier for people to collaborate with one another.”

“This special report has argued that social networks have already done much to achieve  that  goal.  They  have  created trusted online venues where people can meet up using  their  real  identities.  They have  provided  ?rms  with  new ways  to reach their customers and those who inf?uence them. They have reduced friction in the labour market by allowing employers and  prospective  employees  to  connect more  easily  than  ever  before.  And  they have speeded up the ?ow of information within companies.”

“All  of  these  are  impressive  achievements. But  arguably the most  important contribution that the sites have made is to off?er a free and immensely powerful set of communication and collaboration tools to everyone  on  Earth  who  has  access  to  a broadband  internet  connection.  This  democratisation of technology is driving the socialisation of the web and fundamentally changing the way that people interact with one another, as well as with businesses and governments. ”

Beyond the Obvious

While the article in the Economist will in fact continue to raise the awareness of possibilities from a connected world it would seem that the conclusions in articles like these are a flash of the obvious rather than insight into changes fueling the obvious. At the end of the day social conversations are and will continue to change everything.  The Economist article ends with This  democratisation of technology is driving the socialisation of the web and fundamentally changing the way that people interact with one another, as well as with businesses and governments. ”

When people are unleashed from traditional constraints of interaction, collaboration, creativity and communications they become empowered to change the world around them.  People begin to learn that the world of possibilities isn’t what we’ve been taught to think rather it is whatever we can think and create together.   This dynamic unleashes creativity, innovations, beliefs and knowledge never before tapped rather untapped by what we’ve been taught to believe.

Social conversations are in fact selling change. The change is being fueled by the worlds largest sales force, people. But the change isn’t from the markets rather it is from the people, those that buy into the change and share their findings with friends.

The social wave is building momentum and when it hits your landscape you won’t understand it unless you let go of what you think you understand.

{ 1 comment }

Barry November 27, 2010 at 3:40 am

Everything sounds great, but… the problem is not many people really knows how to use ‘social media wave’ etc. … Everyone talks about it but I can’t see many people doing it right.. and having significant sales with it.

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