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E-commerce Link : Build Confidence

To build sales, you have to move beyond engaging customers with social media

December 2012 By Jeff Molander
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Creating sales with social marketing campaigns demands creating confidence in customers. It requires the marketer to offer prospects results in advance. So, if you're busy engaging customers with "authentic content that adds value" or "engaging social media campaigns" please stop and listen up.

Being known, liked and trusted enough to earn the investment of fickle customers demands giving them the confidence they need to buy. Everything else is just wasting precious time.

Again, I don't just make this stuff up. I practice what I preach after having learned from extraordinary marketers. People like Rachel Farris, director of operations at Austin, Texas-based She's bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in new customers each month using Facebook and blogging.

Now do I have your attention?

Selling Confidence is a white glove service provider specializing in helping people in transition get their pets safely relocated to overseas locations. We're talking pigs, horses, snakes, monkeys—you name it, will relocate the animal safely and securely with all the paperwork. Yes, paperwork. Many foreign countries require extensive paperwork on pets, as well as quarantining periods.

The more I got to know Farris, the more I heard about all the potential nightmares for pet owners. In fact, Farris insists she's not really selling a service. She says is selling confidence.

You see, many of her clients are scared stiff that successful relocation of a pet can even happen. They've got so many worries that ultimately Farris says making the sale is not really about cost or the quality of services her team provides. The biggest obstacle to selling her service is getting her clients to believe that their pets can be relocated without stressful problems.

The Power of Experience
Most service providers find themselves in this exact situation: Selling an experience. Unlike selling a product (a near-term result), most service marketers sell a longer-term promise. So here's what Farris does to meet the challenge. (Please remember: Keep your business in mind as I tell her story. Think about how your customers feel when you've delivered what you said you would and they've experienced the outcome.)

Generally, pet owners are the kind of people who get excited when something really great happens to their pets—something like a successful relocation thousands of miles overseas. There's another thing about pet owners that's important to Farris' social marketing success: People love to take photos of their pets and share them on Facebook.

You won't be surprised to hear that (when given a little bit of an incentive) pet owners are happy to take a photo of their successfully relocated pets—actually being relocated by a named team member—and post it on their Facebook pages. Most customers jump at the opportunity to say thank you to Farris' company for making something that they, deep down, weren't totally sure could happen, actually happen successfully!

Trust Is the Outcome of a Process
Let's hit pause for a moment. You might be thinking, "OK, I got it, but I sell products to other businesses." Or maybe, "I don't have the luxury of dealing with cute dogs and cats—my customers don't hang out on Facebook all day long sharing photos." Fair enough. I plan to give other examples of B-to-B success stories in upcoming columns.

Please resist getting bogged down in the stories themselves. Rather, keep the key success principles in mind—the process for getting engaged prospects to buy:

  1. Solving customers' problems.
  2. Designing social marketing to sell (create response).
  3. Translating customers' needs.

Whether you're a B-to-C or B-to-B marketer, there is power in making the buyer feel like, "yeah, I can have this in my life ... I can have this situation go in a direction that gives me a promotion or won't get me fired!" Or "I can get to that goal I want and get some help doing it the right way, on time and without it emptying my bank account."

Giving customers that sense of confidence is the best way to earn deeper levels of trust. The truth is, your business can leverage this same technique on LinkedIn or using YouTube videos. It's mainly about exploiting the remarkably good experiences your account or customer service team provides. And that takes a plan, a process.

In Farris' case, Facebook is showcasing's ability to make all of those fears and doubts vanish from her customers' minds. You can do the same. You can capitalize on the success created in your customers' lives to knock down barriers to selling to other people who need your service.

Let Social Marketing Work for You is letting social media do the heavy lifting. This company is amplifying all of its best qualities using social media—qualities that are already built into its culture. Social media is just amplifying it.

Farris isn't merely creating engaging content or telling stories about on her blog or Facebook. She's solving customers' problems and showcasing her experience in ways that bring potential customers toward her business. She's solving problems, designing her strategies to sell and translating—listening to all of those questions on her blog and always knowing exactly what to blog about.

In fact, Farris and her team are having fun with social media marketing. You can, too.

Once again, the secret sauce is actually not a secret. Making social media sell for you is mostly about getting back to basics. Sorry gurus, but being known, liked and trusted enough to earn the investment of fickle customers demands giving them confidence in themselves, not just telling a good story.

Jeff Molander is the author of "Off the Hook Marketing" and adjunct faculty of digital marketing at Loyola University. Reach him at and read his blogs at and





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