An old friend once told me about his company’s best salesperson who, year after year, earned the award as “Top Producer.” When asked the secret of his success the man simply replied: I see the people, and I tell the story.
Few in business understand F2F communication like sales people. The firm handshake, the eye contact, the smile. There’s simply no better way to build trust and to nurture relationships. You see the people and you tell the story. In the process, you also listen and maybe have a few beers.
In this era of digital media — email, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter — it’s easy to forget that basic lesson of communication. So I was pleased when one my favorite bloggers and social media promoters reminded us of it yesterday.
In a post titled “Why Social Media Wont Get You A Job In A Recession” Jason Falls (aka, Social Media Explorer) says that public relations is fundamentally a face-to-face business. I’ll let him tell the story. That’s what links are for.
Jason has built his reputation, in part, through helping his clients create and maintain online communities centered around brands. Only a few weeks ago he and the CEO of Maker’s Mark presented their case study about community building before the prestigious Conference Board in NYC.
In his summary of that case, Jason insists that online communities most often start as offline communities. Digital media simply help to fuel the passion and extend the community’s reach. It’s part of the mix, but not the magic potion.
Jason earned a place on my blogroll and my feeder a long time ago. Let me suggest you add him to yours.
Update: One of the comments on this post references an old United Airlines commercial that drives home the point about F2F. Thanks to David for the link.
Post Script: Jason was among 7 social media thought leaders Andy and I interviewed for the Sledzik-Curran Social Media Project. We’ll have Jason’s segments up for viewing in the next few weeks. Yeah, we’re old and we’re slow.