This is an old fable, but I’ve always loved it.
The Wind boasted of great strength. The Sun argued that there was great power in gentleness. “We shall have a contest” said the Sun.
Far below, a man travelled a winding road. He was wearing a warm winter coat.
“As a test of strength” said the Sun, “Let’s see which of us can get the man to remove his coat.”
“It will be quite simple for me to force him to remove his coat” bragged the Wind.
The Wind blew so hard, the birds clung to the trees. The world was filled with dust and leaves. But the harder the wind blew down the road, the tighter the shivering man clung to his coat.
Then, the Sun came out from behind a cloud. Sun warmed the air and the frosty ground. The man on the road unbuttoned his coat. The sun grew slowly brighter and brighter. Soon the man felt so hot, he took off his coat and sat down in a shady spot.
“How did you do that?” said the Wind.
“It was easy” said the Sun, “I lit the day. Through gentleness I got my way.”
When you make the transition from old business to internet business it’s very easy to think that the same techniques that used to work in the classic business model will work in the internet model but that isn’t completely true, and one thing that doesn’t is the “hard sell”. When you’re standing in shop or on the phone you’ve got an interaction going with another physical being, when you’re buying on the web that avenue does not exist and more often than not if you’re too pushy in your site and marketing, prospective clients will just click back to Google and pick the next one in the list. It’s easy to think that you have to be pushy on the internet, that you have to get that sale in the first five seconds of someone landing on your site, when in actuality your prospective client is doing more research than they would in the shop or on the phone. They have the power of the internet on their side and more time to see your hard sell so instead of being the Wind and blowing as hard as you can to get that coat, simply smile and grow brighter, give them all the information that you can about your products make it easy for them to see how it will benefit them. They will remember that helpful site over the pushy ‘Wind’ one and they will come back and buy from you in preference,
Persuasion through kindness is better than force…