A mentor taught me this over a decade ago and I remind myself of this fact every single day. I am an excellent salesman, (which I have been told both as a compliment and an insult mind you) because I genuinely am interested in helping people. I like working with businesses and learning their stories. I like helping owners and marketers craft their message and then present their unique selling propositions and reasons for being. Sales comes easy to me, because the passion and understanding are there and that creates a very solid foundation for working with clients.
I work both in service and in marketing because it allows me to help businesses sell their products and offerings to others. This is the path I chose, because it allows me to play to my strengths and provide an element that most brands are missing. Everyone thinks their baby is the cutest, but most struggle with conveying that message to the masses. It is one thing to believe you are great, but it is harder to get others to agree.
Social media is such a unique vertical, because it is rooted upon uncontrolled dialogue. You put out content to a community and then want to get them to engage in a conversation. This is very different than PR, Branding or even Direct Response Advertising, all of which are very controlled mediums. With those, you want to convey a very concise message in as few words as possible and tell users and customers what to do. With social, you don’t know how they will respond or react and you need to be ready for anything. The hope of course, is that those tactics will translate to sales. The goal is therefore to help them make a good decision, which in this case is – to buy your product!
Working in service can be very frustrating and unforgiving at times. You can win 99% of the time, but it is the 1% when you don’t that clients remember. You can work hard to earn and keep the business, but in a blink that can change when a client pivots, or brings on new staff with different agendas. With social media, many (perhaps even most) are still not totally convinced that it is a driver of business and when the going gets tough or revenues and margins are lean, they are quick to pull the trigger on shutting down service partners and/or looking for cheaper alternatives. Needless to say, it is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Despite that, I am convinced that if truth, honesty, hard work AND excellent customer service are your north star(s) then you will win in the end. Four Seasons Hotels and Best Westerns both provide beds to stay in overnight, but the service and overall experience are very different. The commitment to remarkable service cant just be on the surface, it needs to run deep.
Ultimately, business decision makers want to trust a partner, who will have their best interest at heart and will work hard to advance the client’s needs before their own. They want to be sold, if that means you will help them make a good decision for their business. The sale is the forehand stroke, but the great service is the follow thru. I am ready (and always happy) to play that game. Just let me serve!