I am a big fan of Inbound Markekting. Truth be told, I am a hybrid of sorts. My background is in the broadcast television advertising sales field, so my training or upbrining is in the traditional media arena. However, I am extremely passionate about the future or forward value of Inbound Marketing. I have personally witnessed the seismic shifts in the traditional media industry that were mentioned in the book, Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and blogs. The book was written by the two founding parnters of Hubspot, Brian Haligan and Dharmesh Shah.
Personally, I have vested much of my time, energy and resources into the Inbound Marketing concept. Both of my new ventures, www.Heartwaves.org and www.blinkjarmedia.com, have a strong focus in the Inbound Marketing approach.
What gets me super motivated about the future of both of my companies is that I have a mixed skill set that I see as the key ingredient to Inbound Marketing. It actually may be a key ingredient or area of concentration moving forward for many Inbound Marketing Companies. This, by no means, is a knock towards my fellow Inbound Marketers, because I find that there are some brilliant companies focusing on Inbound Marketing as their specialty. But, the one skill set that the traditional media side has ingrained in me, and is quite frankly a part of my instinctive nature, is what I like to call the "belly to belly" philosophy.
An old sales term by one of the classic sales trainers, Tom Hopkins, is “belly-to-belly”. This is a common phrase used to describe the sales call that takes place in person. In today’s world, the belly-to-belly sales call is almost extinct. In the digital world that we live in, we have all become far too dependent on sending an email or a text or even a facebook message to a client. I am all for the advancement of technology and am a HUGE fan of social and digital media. However, when it comes to building a sales relationship, there is still no replacement for the belly-to-belly sales call.
I had the privilege of sitting down with a potential Inbound Marketing Partner last night for dinner. Through our conversation, I was reminded of the significance of having these in person conversations. Through stories and analogies given to me by the potential customer, I was able to paint a very vivid picture of the direction I wanted to take with the Inbound Marketing for his company. Had we not had that "belly to belly" meeting, I would have gathered information over the phone or via email. However, the creativity and thought leadership for this client may have been a bit lacking. To some of you, this may seem very obvious. But, at times, we all become way too dependent on the comfort of technology in communicating key details of our marketing plan.
As marketers, the number one rule in sales is to communicate the way our clients communicate. In another words, the way to learn more about them and really become ingrained in their business, is by speaking their language, not ours. And the language of many clients is still sitting down one on one to discuss their business.
So, as we move forward in this incredible world of Inbound Marketing, I am grateful for my traditional media background. It has taught me how to ask the right questions, take the right marketing approach, create the appropriate promotional opportunities, and much more. But, most of all, it has taught me that there is no better way to build a relationship than in person.