Marketing To Strangers And Selling To Friends

Positioning your marketing systems to help build trust makes sales a formality.


“The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” – Peter Drucker

Why is selling necessary? You have to sell harder when there is a lack of trust. If you have experienced a product like a Sony flat screen and love it, buying a second is not something you have to be persuaded about. If you decide to buy a Sony laptop, your perception of their brand transfers. The cross-sell is not necessary. The brand helps you translate the quality perception. The marketing of the Sony brand helps you understand what to expect. It’s a promise.

Think about your own brand. If it is weak and the buyer lacks experience with your product or service, then marketing helps to fill the gaps to build trust. Marketing paints the picture. Effective marketing is designed for the stranger and facilitates trust building. Trust happens in the mind of your buyer and the job of the marketer is to help turn a stranger into a friend. The buyer is trying to grow in trust and these are some of the issues they are wrestling with:

  • How your industry works. With the massive amounts of information and choices today, many products are niche and specialized, likely yours included. The buyer needs to be educated about your industry. Providing well-packaged and desirable content that helps them understand the rudiments as well as the advanced parts of the problem they may or may not know they have positions you as the authority. Allowing your marketing efforts to become education and resources for your buyers is a winning strategy for growing trust.
  • What winning looks like. Many times, it is hard for buyers to articulate or define their pain. Helping them with precise understanding and then showing how your offerings solve and have solved the problem positions your organization in a heroic light. The buyer can get to know you as someone who helps. It’s much better than someone who sells.
  • Why you make sense. After a buyer feels they understand how your industry works and what winning looks like, they want to compare and make a decision. If you look like everyone else, you will be compared. Buyers enjoy this empowerment of the marketplace. Ensuring your value is unique and you are the leader in your defined category is critical. Your positioning in a narrow and specific category helps to position your expertise. Buyers want to reduce risk and uncertainty and go with the winner. Ensure that is you.

If your marketing and marketing systems are set up to attract and nurture strangers, then it should translate into a friendship with your brand. Selling to friends is a formality. They say, “Yes,” because they already trust you will deliver what you say.

If you ignore building such process and systems, then you will have to work harder on selling. It’s less leverage and much harder work.

How are your systems turning strangers into friends?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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