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Hanging Out

by David Brock on October 7th, 2011

I was on my bike last weekend, riding to the beach to hang out with my nephew.  He’s a really cool guy, a sophomore in college, world class sailor, a surfer-dude.  What makes him even cooler, is he let’s me hang out with he and his friends every once in a while.  Saturday was one of those days, I was going to meet them at the regular surfing spot.

As I was riding down to the beach, the phone rang, it was the “family ring” so I stopped and answered it.  “Hey Uncle Dave, we’re at a new beach, the waves are much better here.  Meet us at the new beach.”  I was tempted to say, “Awesome dude, I’m stoked….” but thankfully thought better of it.

Got to the new beach, much of the normal group was there.  Through the morning, more people came, they heard we were all at a new beach, came to join us.

As I was riding back home, I reflected on how interesting the whole process was.  It wasn’t a big deal, the Saturday morning surfing group (and me) were hanging out in a new place.  Everyone figured it out and showed up.  A couple hadn’t heard, went to the old beach, but quickly found out what had changed and came to join the group.  No one was sitting at the old beach waiting for us to show up.

But it’s so different with so many sales people and managers when you start talking about social media and business, there’s genuine resistance.  I see all sorts of discussions, “Should sales people be involved in social media/business?”  When I talk to sales people, I ask, “What blogs are you reading, how are you leveraging social media?”  They look at me like I’m crazy.  I look at sales people’s LinkedIn profiles–they don’t have one, their profile is a resume, they have only a handful of connections.   Many companies restrict access to social media and networking sites, others say it’s a waste of time.

It’s odd to see the resistance to social media and business.  Increasingly, that’s where our customers are hanging out.  But there’s a resistance among sales people to hang out in the same place.  It’s kind of like showing up at the wrong beach–what’s the point, if  no one else is there, why continue to hang out there?  Why not join your customers where they are hanging out?  If we want to engage our customers, why not join them where they are at?  Seems to make sense doesn’t it?

Sure, not all your customers are there, so we have to hang out in some of the normal places.  But the point is, when the group changes beaches, if you want to hang out with them, you have to show up at the new beach.

Surf’s up dudes and dudettes, I’m stoked!  ( I just had to say that, sorry)

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