online sales

Why Online Sales and Online Dating are the Same

By: on February 14, 2020
Posted in: Sales

A Valentine’s Day Special

Recently, a lead reached out to me via Everbrave’s website form. They said they were interested in learning more about our services and looking for help with marketing. I did what any business development person would do and got them onto a phone call ASAP. I thought the call went wonderfully. We talked, we laughed, we shared goals, we marvelled at all the things our businesses had in common, and we made plans for a second date meeting.

And then I got ghosted.

I’m sure you can relate. It’s happened to all of us in business and —if you’ve ever sailed the rocky seas of internet dating— the pursuit of romance. You think you have everything the other person is looking for, and yet they never call you again. Ghosting isn’t the only parallel between the two either. Online sales and online dating are basically the same. Let me explain.

At least pretend to care about me

Sending a cold sales pitch with no personalization is like matching with someone on a dating app, then asking them to come over to your house in your first message. Sure, sometimes this method works, but it’s rare. A more likely result is that you get blocked and deleted.

Mass sales pitch emails are the, “You up?” of the business world. In sales and dating, you have to show genuine interest in the individual you’re reaching out to.

In online dating, this means reading their profile and asking a question that relates to something that they’ve mentioned or a photo they’ve posted.

For sales, it means doing your homework. Mention something that they’ve written in an article, discuss a pain point you know they’re probably facing, tailor your outreach to them. We all want to feel understood, not like a faceless number on someone’s spreadsheet.

 


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It’s easier to build connection in person than through correspondence

We rarely feel as accountable to people we meet online as we do to people we meet in real life.  It’s the reason your nice-in-person uncle Gary picks Facebook fights in random groups. Why we all feel comfortable hanging up on telemarketers but instead, choose to hide in our kitchen from door-to-door salesmen. The way in which a scene that would make us laugh in a movie makes us cringe in a play.

For these same reasons, it’s easier to abandon (or ghost) a person that we’ve only spoken to online or over the phone. Ghosting happens when people have met each other in person too, but in my experience, it’s incredibly rare. We somehow feel more compelled to respond to those we know in real life.

In sales, in-person meetings create person to person respect and accountability. They also establish fit. No one likes having their time wasted, it’s the reason we vet our sales interactions, and dates, through phone or email first. But nothing can establish whether someone is a fit quite like a face-to-face meetup.

There’s a reason online works

For the sake of transparency, you should know that I’m biased towards online dating and sales. I have a fantastic partner who I connected with through a dating app and I work in business development so I’m obviously an advocate for both. But it’s not just me. Research conducted by Stanford University found that a large majority of couples now meet online, and it’s no secret that a growing portion of society spends the majority of their day on a screen of some type.

Our need to make romantic connections and buy goods and services remain the same as they’ve ever been. The mediums in which we engage has changed entirely.

Online selling and online dating offer the same benefits:

Increased compatibility and convenience

My hobbies are a healthy mix between a meathead and an 85-year-old man. Finding someone to not only spot my bench but also laugh at my inappropriate jokes over a peaty scotch was a tough ask. Luckily, online dating allowed me to quickly rule out who wouldn’t appreciate my tasteless jokes or my calloused hands.

Online dating and sales provide straightforward access to the people, and products, most compatible with our very specific wants— all from the convenience of our phone or computer.

In sales, the prospects I’m looking for have specific wants, needs, and characteristics. My services aren’t required by every person out there. The internet allows me to search for only the businesses I know will get value from my offering and target them specifically, through the platforms that they already engage with day-to-day­.

Safety

The implications of safety in dating and business are very different but the general ask remains the same: can I trust that you are who you say and do the things you claim to?

For businesses, this looks like having accessible reviews, case studies, and online presence. Potential leads can easily look up my business to prove that my sales outreach isn’t a scam.

In dating, this trust is established through mutual friends, a robust enough social platform to know I’m talking to a real person, and built-in safety features for apps.

No matter the buyer, or partner, you’re trying to attract, you can almost certainly find them online.

Every rose has its thorns

Get it? That was a bachelor joke. I don’t watch the show, but it seemed appropriate.

For dating and sales alike, one piece of tried and true advice will always serve: treat others how you want to be treated.

I’m going to be brutally honest, online dating and sales suffer from the same problems. Impersonal interactions, confusing (sometimes non-existent) etiquette, and a lack of accountability. But no matter your opinion, we’re all engaging in this new-fangled interaction device we call the internet, so we better figure out how to treat each other on it.