We’re surrounded by ads every day and we’re more or less okay with them, but it’s when we become aware of them, that’s when we take offense.
I've been thinking a lot about advertising, influence, and how to move people lately—it's something we all do in some form or another whether you are trying to pitch a project at work or asking a girl out on a date. I'd like to share some thoughts that I have about differentiating yourself from the world of sales, getting back to something real—honest sales.
Traditional sales has given most of us a bad taste in our mouth for some time now. I'm sure you've been to a commission-based department store, a car dealership, or have paid too much for cable television or internet. Experiences like this give off such a bad vibe, such a blatant message that they want our money and they'll do whatever they can to get it and truth is, most of us give it to them. Then the buyers remorse sets in. You feel robbed, swindled, and up-sold—it's not fun; no one likes to feel pandered to.
I've never waited tables or worked in the hospitality industry, but I've always wanted to give it a try, for a short amount of time—I think I would be good at it, not because I'm an extrovert or like to watch people eat food, just the opposite. I have always prided myself on being able to read people at a distance and measure the temperature of a conversation or interaction.
I'm sure you have experienced one or both of these scenarios in a restaurant: a) server is not available when you need them or b) server is seemingly waiting by your table to refill your coffee after every sip. Neither are pleasant.
A little over a year ago Psychology Today posted an interesting article praising "six ways to get higher tips" touting that servers whom lightly touched their customers often influenced their patrons to drink more and leave larger tips than those who were not lightly touched. Another was to repeat customer's orders back to them word for word to check for understanding. Both are strategic tactics, but successful ones at that, they show a connection and an understanding between parties. We all want to be loved and we all want to be understood.
If you're on social media I would encourage you to review the people you follow. I consider myself an active Twitter user and out of the 370 people I follow, fifteen of them are brands that I have no relation to (I have never worked for or with them).
So why if we are so averse to advertising and sales tactics do I follow fifteen different brands and services? Because they are a part of a bigger story or experience that I associate myself with.
We hate big corporations, but we LOVE Target. We don't want to be forced to make a purchase, but we LOVE in-app purchases. We dislike paying too much for cable television, but we LOVE our Real Housewives.
I could go on forever, but in the interest of your life and my hungry tummy calling for dinner time I'll leave you with this:
None of us want to simply buy more things, but we all want to buy into the idea of a happy, healthy, love-filled, and successful life. Make something of great value and show people that they are loved and understood and you'll be AMAZED at what they will pay for.