I just did something I rarely ever do: I responded to an internet “freebie” marketing offer. It centers around the 12 days of Christmas, and I’ll purportedly get lots of free, valuable, cool stuff. Past experience has shown that more often than not, what you really get is spammed to high heaven once you’ve provided your email address.
So why did I respond to this one? Connetion. The guys who emailed me are authors of a book to which I contributed. I’ve been in touch, via email, over the past couple of years. I’ve never met them, but they’ve been stand-up in their dealings to date. So when they emailed and said “This is good,” I believed them.
Of course there is still some risk. If they picked the wrong pony by recommending this program, their credibility will be severely damaged. That is the risk we all take. When we have connection, whether a little or alot, we want to be careful not to breach that trust or erode confidence.
Connection is powerful in sales and marketing, and it is powerful in business and life. We allow ourselves to be influenced by a leader, with or without a title, because we feel a connection based on past direct or vicarious experience, so we trust them. This connection is built slowly over time, and must be judiciously guarded. Ultimately, it doesn’t give us power over people, but rather power with them. It is influence by consent and commitment, the best power of all.