“Here (in Pakistan and Afghanistan), we drink three cups of tea to do business; the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything – even die.”
– Haji Ali, Krphe Village Chief, Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace One School at a time by Greg Mortenson
Business happens when trust is established. Don’t trust the salesmen that is selling something to you, than you are not likely to buy the product, no matter how good it is.
Once trust is established than the speed at which things will happen will accelerate.
The internet quickens the developing trust process. Meet a stranger at a networking event for a couple of minutes then you can connect on Facebook to figure out what friends you have in common. And their pictures on Facebook will tell you a little about their family and home life. LinkedIn will tell you their work history. If they have a blog you can read their thoughts about life and the world.
The more you know someone the more you trust them.
When I started my business back in 2003 I didn’t know a whole lot about sales. I was a lonely entrepreneur trying to get people to buy a product that I genuinely believed in. It took me a LONG time to get my first sale. Companies didn’t know me so when I started with a cold-call they would naturally be on guard for what I was “selling” them. I would have to meet them a few times and then finally ask for the order.
In 2010 though things are different. If someone refers a client to me, they usually check out my blog/Facebook/LinkedIn. The conversations are more to the point – and the rate at which we can go and do the actual business is a LOT quicker as the trust is built quicker. I can now point potential investors to my online history and they can see I’m not just someone that appeared overnight and will disappear with their money overnight.
People ask how I make money through the internet. My biggest assets are cheap. Nothing to write home about. A simple blog that gets on average a 100 or so hits a day. But this blog alone has generated me tens of thousands of dollars of business in the last few months. Not that it was an “overnight success”, I’ve been doing it for over a year. My first blog, http://www.txtfo.blogspot.com/, started in 2005 but as I didn’t make money overnight I gave up pretty quickly on it.
This blog got puny traffic for so long but I stuck with it, till finally a year down the line it started to pay back. Everyone of my blog posts and every one of my 100 plus videos is like having a cup of tea with someone. The traffic numbers are not as important as having a good cup of tea with random strangers and even friends.
I simply didn’t get it back in 2005. I thought I would generate loads of traffic and people would buy my stuff. Now I realized that blogging is simply about drinking tea with strangers. Who over time become friends. And a few will even become customers.
If you are not using the internet effectively, than that is also Okay – you simply get to drink more tea.
P.S. I REALLY recommend Greg Morteson’s book in case you are looking for inspiration Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace One School at a time. Or if you are a pure marketer read Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing.