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Engage or Sell?

5th December 2017


One significant change is affecting many businesses and those that are dealing well with it are benefitting …. those that aren’t may be suffering.

The change is the difference between selling product and engaging an audience.  Whilst it would be drawing a long bow to suggest that the days of selling per se are gone, they are certainly reducing and changing in nature.  There are now many consumers who prefer to buy rather than be sold to and the changing landscape of business makes it so much easier for them to do that … online buying, digital marketing, social media, globalisation of markets (and business), larger businesses, more competition and so on.

So, businesses that continue to ask the question “How can we sell our product?” may be getting it wrong.  Maybe they should be asking a different question “How can we engage a large number of people … who then may choose to buy our products?”  There are significantly different answers to each of these questions.  And if this is a valid point (and we are suggesting it is) then the different answers lead to distinctly different approaches.  How to sell involves proactive contact with consumers suggesting, in some way, they buy your products.  How to engage will lead to actions like the provision of information that is relevant and valued by consumers, content that interests and inspires them, content and even events that attract their interest ongoing in some way, all that may eventually lead to them purchasing your products through their engagement with your business.  Further, how to engage allows the question to apply to a very large audience and not just to those who might buy now/soon or who live close by.

Can you see the fundamental difference?  By taking the latter approach, of engaging people, the spanse of activities becomes much broader as does the audience.  It may take a little longer to eventually sell product but the reality is that many businesses today don’t have a choice … the pendulum swing from all of the causal factors mentioned prior repositions the consumer completely into not having to respond to sales approaches and possibly even to find them distasteful.  It’s more about reach, interest and engagement now … so, enter digital marketing, the social media, different messaging, and the dissemination of important, relevant and interesting information … to engage a large group of people (across larger geographical areas that were previously not possible for many businesses) and then to be able to refine what’s being disseminated and to whom, to create a highly engaged but growing audience, who then become consumers.

The proposition above is completely fundamental.  For that can relate to this you may already have changed your approach but if you haven’t it’s time to do so.  Take the question to key thinkers in your business and explore the opportunities but be warned that many other businesses are well down this road and it is an ever changing landscape, so changing the ways you go about it is frequently necessary.  There are no watertight formulae to get it totally right, and therefore trial and error is a part of the process, but with creative yet systematic approaches, results will inevitably come for businesses that stick at it.