I’ve been on a kick lately. I’m talking incessantly about what businesses – marketing and sales in particular – could learn from the practice of dating. Surprisingly, many business folk have either forgotten how to date or are so desperate, they are trying to get right to the… punch line. Either way, there are no excuses for their despicable behavior!
- Stop trying to stick your tongue down our throats on the first date! My money says that you wouldn’t try and give someone an open mouth kiss 30 seconds after meeting them so why are you trying to sell us something before you get to know us. You’re bad at this via e-mail and even worse on Twitter. Please stop!
- Don’t ask us to marry you within 24 hours after we meet. I’m betting that most normal people in the world don’t get married after their first date. So why do marketers assume that they have a relationship with us after one conversation? Give us some space and try courting us first.
- Remember the importance of conversation. Anyone that’s ever dated or been married knows that conversation is not just important, it’s the lifeblood of any good relationship. So why does it seem like many marketers and sales folks today are great at the “asking out part” but not so much when it comes to actually talking to us?
- I can see the condoms in your wallet (stronger visual if sales/marketing role is male and consumer role is female). When we as consumers know that all you want to do is sleep with us, it’s kind of a turn off. We’d like to get to know you first. Maybe date for a while. Send us some flowers and pay us some compliments. After that… well, you know where I’m headed.
- Give before you get. This isn’t a sexual reference per se (although read it however you like) but if you know anything about me, you’ve heard me say it a lot. It’s because it’s one of the most important things you can do in a relationship. Sadly, too few businesses get this right. They assume that you will automatically like them based on their looks and charming personality (marketing/sales pitch) to let them take first (money) before they give (product/service).
So when did I become such an expert on dating? Well, I’m not. But I’ve been married for close to 13 years and I’m on the receiving end of a lot of bad “dating” practices as a consumer (both personally AND professionally). As a result, I try and apply the best practices I’ve learned in creating relationships with others – my wife in particularly – to my job.
@JeffCutler adds… “it’s not a free and equal exchange all the time and both sides should realize that.”
@ARN-edition adds… “marketers shouldn’t be afraid to let consumers “date around” before making a commitment. Give them space to see what else is out there and decide if you measure up. If your product/service is as good as you think it is, they’ll be back. And they’ll probably appreciate you more for letting them figure it out on their own.”
@MichelleBatten adds… “Don’t wait days or weeks to “call” me. Let me immediately know how much you appreciated my interest, order, feedback. Make the next date with me around something you know I’ll be interested in to continue the relationship”
@RHappe adds… “Don’t be the guy/gal who likes long walks on the beach and cozy fires in the winter (i.e. we will facilitate strategies to leverage your potential) AND be the person/brand who has something unique to offer and don’t hide it behind obscure language. In the dating world that might be “I love to sail Lasers in Buzzard’s Bay”. Specific. Easy to understand.”
@KarinaShaver adds… “‘Don’t try to be someone you’re not.’ We can sniff you out a mile away if you’re putting on airs – know who you are (what value -not product or service- you offer the consumer), and be confident that it’s worthwhile.”