The choice of touch points or channels has always been quite a strong focus of most of my career. Where to target customers, on which channel, when and how. So when we launched our small business CW-X SA, I seriously thought that I would be able to lure customers to the website via a range of beautiful imagery on Instagram and engaging stories on Facebook.
Sales have been slow.
We realized that the brand had dipped into very low awareness levels, the competitor environment was fierce and that unless we put money behind our social media posts, no one was really seeing our brand.
We decided to get our faces out there and approached Randburg Harriers Running Club asking if we could promote our goods at their Thursday evening time trial. I won’t lie, a social media collaborator and an engineer, face-to-face sales was not our strong point and we were dreading it.
The nerves ran high!
But here’s what we learnt:
- Our brand needs to be seen in the real world. Once people saw the banners, it suddenly felt real.
- Our faces need to be seen and recognized by fellow runners to make the connection between our brand and ourselves. Why? Because trust sells. Relationships sell. Networking sells.
- And most of all, word-of-mouth is key! Once people realized its was us and they knew our faces and names behind the brand, they were really excited and started to tell other people.
Mini brand ambassadors were born.
I’m all for eCommerce but it doesn’t allow for much human connection. With the face-to-face interaction at time trial along side the track, it was easier to question and probe. We showed an interest in people and their stories.
It created a comfortable space for people to share their running injuries, their eating struggles and their choice of what running tights suited them more. People opened up to us about personal stories they would not necessarily do online.
After one evening, we’re no experts. But what an eye opener.
And here’s one more nugget. We fell out of our comfort zones and rolled straight into realizing that maybe, just maybe, we can do this thing called sales.