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by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

Once upon a time I was younger, and I did what many young people do – I went on a package holiday that catered for young people only. You know the type.

Me and a friend eventually arrived in Mallorca after a horrendous delay and a change of airport for our departing flight. We were sitting on a coach full of young people looking forward to a week’s holiday winding its way across the island. We had no idea where we were staying and I think it was good that the sun was yet to rise as the coach stopped at random hotels and names were read out. Some of them looked so awful my friend and I agreed that if we didn’t like the look of the hotel – there was no way we were getting off the coach.

As the sun began to bathe the island in its golden rays, we were one of the last to reach our destination – a hotel about a 10-minute walk from the beach at Palma Nova. We accepted our fate and headed into the hotel. There were a lot of new arrivals and we were all kept hanging about. Then came the bombshell – there was to be a get together for everyone, with snacks and coffee provided and the holiday reps would tell us about the exciting activities they had planned.

Mike and I, hungry having spent twelve hours getting from home to the hotel, ate our way through a handful of pastries as the reps started their sales pitch. They basically wanted money off everyone, there and then, before we had the chance to spend any. Each ‘exciting’ excursion and activity came at a price and boy – those reps were relentless. People in the room started handing over their money and when we were asked to part with our funds we said ‘No’ and walked out. I’m not sure the reps were used to anyone saying no as they kept telling us what a mistake we had made etc, etc.

As the week progressed we would bump into various groups as they were heading off for another pirate boat trip and be plied with cheap booze so it would mask how little value for money they were getting. We would be coming back from the beach as they would be heading off, or we would be heading into the town as they climbed aboard a tatty coach to go to an ‘authentic banquet’.

We would exchange stories with the others about what we had all been up to that day or evening. Every time we had one of the ‘catch-ups’, it was clear who was having the better holiday. They had been, dare I say it, bullied into paying up front for non-refundable events – very little time was their own. Whereas me and Mike had been having a whale of a time, meeting locals, having nights out with people from all over Europe – and spending two days when even we didn’t see each other as we headed off on our adventures.

I remember as we were at the airport waiting for our flight home, we pooled all the money we had left and purchased a sandwich and a big bottle of chocolate milk. That was it – every penny we arrived with had been spent on an amazing week.

Mike and I had been lucky enough to ‘choose’ what we wanted to do. You could say we were acting like a buyer does today – they can choose who, when and where they buy from. Yes, there will always be the buyer hounded by a cold caller or emailed into submission until they place an order. But the sales process has swung into the buyer’s favour thanks to social media. All those years ago in Mallorca the holiday reps were very good at what they did – forcing a deal before there target had a chance to back out. Seems odd to think some people still try and sell like that today.

I love programmatic social selling as I know that when someone buys from me, it’s their choice. I haven’t hounded them, I haven’t harassed them because they spent ten seconds looking at our homepage. All I have done is generate unique content, comment on content by others, post my opinions and share what I think people will be interested in.

At Digital Leadership Associates we don’t spend our money on outbound marketing and yet we generate on average, three pieces of inbound each and every day. That’s got to be more interesting than sticking with out of date sales techniques.

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