Here is a terrific piece on the very famous Mitch Joel’s site, six pixels of separation. It’s called ‘You can’t Pay me to do that’. Here the always thought-provoking Mitch Joel talks about an experience he had when downloading an e-book he was interested in. You may have had the very same experience, but I wonder if you had the same reaction?

Basically, in order to ‘close the deal’ and download the book, Mitch had to pre emptively ‘tweet’ to his followers that he was downloading the book.

The rationale is fairly straightforward, as well as getting another consumer of the book on board the people involved get you to spread the word about the book at the same time. We’d normally do this though wouldn’t we? Share with our friends and networks great stuff we’ve come across online?

The issue here is that the sharing had to take place BEFORE Mitch was able to download the book. In effect, the books ‘price’ was the tweet.

If you’d like to read the article here, you’ll see Mitch’s very impressive take on the situation. He wasnt willing to ‘shill’ as he puts it, the network, or community he has built up in return for the book. He would have been happy to praise the book had he found it worthy, after the fact, but felt he was selling out to do so before even having the chance to read it.

I think this is symptomatic of the general ‘push back’ against sales technique that is becoming more and more prevalent these days. The response to sales technique, the so-called ‘permission economy’ centres around the idea that we are so aware and sophisticated when it comes to these approaches that we almost by default, filter them out. The so called permission marketer gains our permission to communicate with us first, before selling to us.

So in this case, had the book been available with no strings, and found worthy, then Mitch Joel would have been happy to wax lyrical about it to his entire, really strongly engaged community. A great opportunity for any marketer. But the author / promoter has obviously missed a trick here. The low level of the technique employed has actually had the opposite effect.

The article is very interesting as it actually asks the readers whether they agree with Mitch’s assessment. Would they have found a simple tweet a reasonable enough price to pay for a free e-book? Perhaps unsurprisingly the community that follows Mitch are generally finding in his favour, and agreeing with him. Though not necessarily in the way you might think – check out the comments section too, very interesting.

I can’t help wondering if lots of people have just have clicked the ‘Tweet’ button without thinking and spread this sales message anyway? Whatever, Mitch Joel demonstrates commendable principles in my opinion, and should be applauded for his stance.

Irrespective there are a number of things we learn from this account:

1) It’s better to have permission to communicate rather than to trade immediately off a prospective clients interest

2) Enthusiastic approval of your product and your sharing of the product is way more powerful than a generic tweet, so back your content / product to have the desired effect.

3) People think about these things, they don’t just blindly click around everywhere accepting everything they see! They have principles and just as has always been the case, dont want to sell out

4) High level sales people, and sales organisations need to create value in order to win. Basic transactional selling is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain

So what do you guys think? Tweet me on @radiojaja, leave a comment below, or as ever, email me directly on [email protected]

  1. Mike Bersin
    Mike Bersin says:

    Makes sense to me! I think for all the hype about the internet being a game changer, it is only in size not type, volume not quality. What makes advertising / marketing work is human nature and that changes so slowly as to be indiscernibly (although culture changes noticeably from generation to generation). I suspect that what works today is what worked for a wine-seller in the Roman Forum, just a bigger marketplace is all. Possibly the main difference might be the accessibility of fools; if your sales depend on the gullible, you can reach so many people now that, even though only small percentage of them are credulous, it is a huge number.