Teach, Don’t Preach…and Tell, Don’t Sell

Gone are the days when a man with a wagging finger and slicked back hair reaches out from the TV screen to admonish you for not purchasing Sudsy to clean your undies. Or an aproned woman tells us we should buy something because “That’s what Mama always used.”

Gone are the lines at customer complaint departments and unanswered emails about the lack of service or problem with a product. Gone are the curtains that corporations can hide behind.

“Hello, WORLD,” should be every company’s attitude about social media — utilize creative campaigns, give instant feedback, share successes and failures, and offer giveaways and contests. Social media can help businesses reach out, teach and tell in a fun and exciting way like never before. As a storyteller myself, I am drawn to a company who entertains, teaches me something of value, and shares their company story with openness and confidence.

People want to know why they should buy a product, or be taught how they should do something, and marketing is responding by treating the audience as invested individuals rather than a pack of sheep. Businesses should want invested followers who care about what they represent, instead of customers who open their wallets.

If my eyes tear up at a commercial, or I feel the need to “spread the word” after reading an ad, I know the marketing team has done their job. By making me care, they have drawn me in. The catch is, the product or service better be good, because the trend in storytelling can go both ways. But if someone complains on Facebook or lashes out on Twitter, it is just an opportunity to add another chapter to your story. You should welcome the chance to learn more about your customers, and improve your product or service. Customer satisfaction is now about inviting the world in and allowing them to feel they are one of your partners — in fact, your most valuable business partner.

Creating a product or service and ads to sell aren’t enough. Remember!

  • Make sure your product and service are the best they can be.
  • Invite the world in and share your business story.
  • Share the experiences of your customers and clients.
  • Use social media to improve your business by asking for input.
  • Don’t be afraid to share the ups and downs of business.
  • Mistakes are human, and businesses can learn from them.
  • Resolve issues immediately and share results, be transparent.
  • When customer experience is improved, we all gain.

I, for one, am glad there is more accountability and openness in the world. Consumers want to be educated and informed, not preached at and sold to. Empowering and educating the client makes their choice easier — they will stick with the company who cares and shares.

I invite comments and feedback. I am open to criticism or debate. I welcome compliments and observations…’cause I love to learn!

Have you had a customer experience that supports Teaching vs. Preaching or Telling vs. Selling? Do you have a sales story to share?

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