It always amazes me how badly some businesses interact with potential clients.
Yesterday I had the ‘pleasure’ of receiving three calls in 10 minutes from a tele-sales company where the callers (3 different ones) started their calls (where they were trying to sell me a mobile phone) with these three lines:
1. ‘Hi, who am I speaking to?’
2. ‘Hi, Do you have a mobile phone?’
3. ‘Hi, Can I ask how much you earn?’
Yes – these were their very first words on each of the calls!
I was stunned to say the least – cold callers, ringing with the intention of selling me their product with an approach like that.
Now I do sympathize with the task that the people making the calls had – they are probably working for minimum wages in some other country and have been given the impossible task of selling phones to people on the other side of the world over the phone – but the approach that they had been trained to use didn’t go down to well with me. To say that I became more irate with each call would be an understatement!
As I’ve reflected upon the calls (and calmed down a little) they have left me thinking about the challenge that bloggers, especially those selling things (selling their own products, selling their business, selling affiliate products), have with their readers.
As I reflect on some of the sales and business blogs that I’ve seen over the last few months I have come to the conclusion that many are using a similar technique to my callers yesterday. Ok – perhaps they are not being quite as intrusive (or downright rude) but a lot of the blogging sales technique seems to take a ‘cold call’ type approach – and a lot of them do it badly.
Of course the challenge online is that sometimes you do need to take a cold call approach to your sales, people surf to your site for just a few seconds and so you have a limited opening to get your message across – but for me blogging is not that type of medium, at least it’s not at it’s best in cold call mode.
Blogging is at it’s most effective and powerful when it engages people, when it relates to them, when it provides something useful and when it creates a conversation.
I’ve experimented with ‘selling’ on my blogs via affiliate programs and in ‘selling myself’ as a consultant and I’ve found that it’s much more effective to do so out of some level of relationship with a reader – something that usually takes time. As a result bloggers (whether they are selling things or not) need to learn skills like converting one off readers to regular readers in order to build relationships with readers over time. It’s out of this relationship and trust that real influence happens.
PS: read more on techniques for using affiliate programs to make money blogging here.