People still buy from people
An ex-boss of mine’s favourite quote was ‘people buy from people’. This irritated the life out of me. Not just because of its glib unsupported simplicity – though that was irritating enough. But rather because I was (at the time) personally steeped in complex marketing ideologies and sales techniques. His version of the world made mine seem rather pointless. And anyway, I was sure he was wrong, so that was that. But 20 years on, I fear he was more accurate than ever I dare admit.
In fact the rise of social media has made this ‘philosophy’ more valid, not less so. Social media has given us all a voice – and reveals us more starkly. Corporate buyers now have vastly increased amounts of information about you and your organisations. So it’s hardly surprising that they are now more likely to choose business partners on the basis of empathy and decency. According to a recent survey 69% of people are now more likely to buy from a brand that talks publicly about its corporate social responsibility (CSR). 88% think companies should try and achieve business goals while improving society and the environment.
It is great news that social media has made it easier to reach out to people for less financial outlay. But it has also placed an accent on breaking out of that crowd. The challenge is to turn those ‘touches’ into clear relationships that can lead to useful business. More than ever it is important to get real – rather than virtual. Face to face meetings and quality events that provide some useful service to a purchaser have never been more important. Providing real value is the order of the day.