Tuesday, November 3, 2009

…And the Salesman Says, “Trust Me!”

CarSalesWeekly Rant

Guy Kawasaki recently wrote in his blog How to Avoid Twitter Cluelessness.  This is a very useful list and I found a number of his points equally applicable in marketing and sales of any product or service.

Namely, his number 10 item on this is “Don’t call yourself a “guru” or an “expert.” Let your tweets enable people to reach the conclusion that you know your stuff.”  In other words, let the merit of what value you deliver be your selling point. 

I’m a true believer in social media, but not as a panacea.  Social media invites transparency.  In fact, the blogosphere, including in posts here, is littered with articles about how social media represents the social utopia where everyone’s thoughts are laid bare for everyone else to see.  You no longer unveil your vulnerability only on special occasions.  You learn to speak honestly and address the issues publicly…Or so we all claim. 

That last paragraph may sound sarcastic, but I’m a believer in this new world.  What I find curious and amusing is whether all the “gurus” and “experts” that advertise their services on social media get it.  I don’t think they do, given the plethora of postings about how you can become a success overnight…at your business, on twitter, by blogging, and the list goes on and on.

The question is whether that matters.  Can you trust people on social networking sites DESPITE the abuses by some?  The answer is a resounding YES!!! Why? Since there are so many genuine people on social media, you can easily tell the “fly-by-night” marketers who try to fill your stream with redirects to their site to buy their products, as opposed to those like Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki who provide you valuable information, links, articles and opinion.

In the end, telling who’s sleazy and who’s not is no different from how you could distinguish sleazy used car salesmen.  In other words, are they trying to “sell” you on something or help you achieve your goals and dreams?

There’s still a lingering question: how about the more stealth and elegant, yet untrustworthy, agents?  How can you tell them apart from the rest?  The answer lies in research.  I recommend reading their post stream, as well as websites and asking questions about their reputation and credibility from the larger social media community. 

Search That’s an advantage that social media has over traditional communication channels: you can ask a question of the whole community and get everyone’s input in a short period of time.  Alternately, you can ask this question of your network of folks you trust, to insure the answer you receive is genuine and untainted. 

You should also search online, whether through Google or on social and professional networking sites in addition to the one where you found someone, such as LinkedIn, for information about that person or organization.  LinkedIn is especially helpful since you can find others connected to the person you’re researching and ask their opinion too.

What Do You Think?

Do you think there’s a formula for determining how to trust someone online?  Also, what’s the difference between trust and loyalty?