The Now Future of Online Selling Revealed in Under 12 Seconds

No one will buy from you unless two prerequisites have been fulfilled.

  1. The customer knows you, and
  2. You’ve already been useful to that customer

You can stop reading now. The point has been made; you are free to move on. But for those who need more proof, here it is.

You’re still here?

I was visiting a site authored by a blogger I met through Dan Cristo.

This blogger had requested access into one of my tribes, so I checked him out, his site was solid, and so I invited him in.

The blogger is Ben Yoskovitz and his blog is

Ben has some really useful content, particularly relevant to me since Triberr is a startup and Ben writes about startups.

I saw an Ad

I saw an ad on Ben’s site.

There is nothing inherently wrong about this, of course.

This particular ad was hugely relevant to me. It’s for a product (looks to be an eBook) called LaunchBit Startup Guide and when I clicked on it, I saw that it costs $19.99 (down from previously contrived $49.99) and I became indignant about LaunchBit.

My internal monologue went something like this:

How DARE you try to sell me something? I don’t even know you? Who the fuck are YOU? What have you done FOR ME to try and get me to part with my cash?

That was on the inside

But on the outside, I only closed the browser window and had all intentions of moving on with the rest of my day, but then I paused and though “is there a lesson here?”

So I dug a little deeper, and found that LaunchBit is a little upstart run by two lovely ladies named Elizabeth and Jennifer. They have been best friends since they were 12, and now they build websites to help other entrepreneurs get their own web ideas going.

Not only that, but they also have a blog where they share their thoughts and insights about starting a web-based biz.

Few posts I found particularly useful:

The demons of indignation that rose from the shallows of my reptilian brain were appeased and I was able to extract an important lesson from the whole experience.

And that lesson is:

No one will buy from you unless two prerequisites have been fulfilled.

  1. The customer knows you, and
  2. You’ve already been useful to that customer

Who’s with me?

There are 4 generations currently buying things online.

  1. The baby boomers
  2. The Gen Xrs
  3. The Millennials (people in their 20s) and
  4. Gen G (pre-teens)

I submit to you that these 4 generations of consumers will have a different reaction to online buying from someone they don’t know.

  • I think baby boomers will pay because they have been conditioned to pay.
  • I think Gen Xrs will be split (some will feel the way I did and some will feel the way baby boomers do), BUT!
  • The Millennials and Gen G will ABSOLUTLY expect to purchase things only from people (companies) that they know and have been useful to them.

The difference in reaction is important to understand, especially if your business has created the profile of the perfect buyer and that buyer is of certain age (and they usually are).

Creating a customer avatar is a hugely important component of any successful marketing endeavor. In other words, know your audience.

What were you thinking?

We are of course making broad statements here, but folks react differently to the same thing, and the internal wiring is very generational.

  • Are you aware of your buying triggers and buying repellants?

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

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  • Robert Dempsey

    Wow I feel like a much nicer person as my reaction isn’t so rude, Dino 😛 But okay I agree with you here. Business is relationships. Selling is a part of business. To sell you must have some level of relationship. That relationship could be 20 minutes long or 20 months long before a sale is made. It depends on the context. For many businesses it takes more than 20 minutes, which is why blogging and inbound marketing generally speaking are great – they help you build more relationships without you having to be present.

    • Dino Dogan

      A lady was trying to sell me a piece of PHP code the other day. I didnt know her from an atom. Ended up getting the piece of PHP code I needed from someone else and now that person is in my tribe and our relationship has progressed to several useful email exchanges…useful for both parties. 

      Am I going to buy from this guy? Probably not, but I know this guy and if someone needs his services, guess who Im going to recommend? 

      Of course, I know you understand all this stuff…btw…have I told you that I love that you changed your domain name? is way better than that other thing I couldnt spell 🙂

      • Robert Dempsey

        Being able to spell is good. My site started out as a personal blog and turned into a full blown business very quickly once I saw the opportunity. Now back to the point of your post.

        I agree that people buy from companies and others that they have a “relationship” with, which is why it’s important to be putting out content on a regular basis that is helpful, informative and fun. That’s today’s relationship building marketing.

  • Eric Wittlake

    Dino, I love the line “You’ve already been useful to that customer.” I’m a big believer that marketing needs to be valuable to your audience, not just to your company. Marketing (defined much more broadly than many define it today) is a company’s best opportunity to provide value broadly to prospects. You summed up the reason this is important nicely.

    Related, I posted (last week) on the future of marketing, and providing value that would be missed is one of the core objectives I believe marketing needs to strive for. Here is the link to my post:

    — @wittlake 

    • Dino Dogan

      If people are going to buy from you they have to know you and like you. The reason moms buy dolls for their daughters is because they know Barbie and they like Barbie. 

      We need to become a Barbie to our potential customers. They need to know us and like us. A great way for people to get to know you and like you is to be useful to them. 

      I’ve read that article of yours…great stuff 🙂

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  • Constantin Gabor

    Yup! I either buy from established shops/retailers/brands or from people I know.

    And people who know me have bought from me. That’s A FACT!

    • Dino Dogan

      Established brands are simply ones that you’ve known for a long time..right? It always goes back to knowing and linking, doesnt it? 🙂

  • Stan Faryna

    Is Launchbit a member of Triberr? In other words, do Elizabeth and Jennifer get it? [grin] Because if they don’t, why would I check out their book?

    I like threes, myself…

    1. The customer knows you (or about you)
    2. They like you or what you do
    3. You’ve already been useful to that customer


    • Dino Dogan

      I dont know if they are…will have to check 🙂

  • Danny Iny

    Hey Dino, great to see you connecting with Ben, he’s a great guy. Will you be making it to the International Startup Festival in Montreal in July?

    I know what you mean about ads, but I’m really on the fence about this one – isn’t there a kind of unwritten understanding that the ads are there, but you don’t have to look at them until you’re ready?

    • Dino Dogan

      @byosko:twitter is one of my top producers. Since he joined one of my tribes, he has drawn the most number of people every post since then. So, yay Ben, I hope triberr is good to your blog as well.

      Unfortunately I dont think I’ll be in Montreal any time soon, but I’ma be speaking in Toronto in Oct/Nov for the @ungeeked:twitter conference. That should be fun 🙂

      • Benjamin Yoskovitz

        Glad I could help! I haven’t written enough yet, so haven’t seen an impact … but that’s my fault for not writing more.

  • Alicia M. Jay

    Hey Dino!
    I agree that people will only buy from you if they know you. I just went on a little rant on Brankica’s latest post regarding people asking you to vote for their post in a contest when you don’t know them. I may have said something about chocolate chip cookies in there as well (it was relevant at the time).

    It’s the same when you’re purchasing a product. I’m more apt to purchase from someone I know or someone who is an affiliate for the product of whose opinion I trust.

    You asked about our buying repellents. Those pop-ups really irk me. I certainly don’t mind if it comes up once while I’m on a site. But once I hit that little “x”, I DON”T want to see it again in 2 minutes. Just sayin’.

    • Dino Dogan

      I had a pop up on my blog but then @hollandzblog:twitter started a revolution and so I removed mine…it was either that or suffer the wrath of Hollanz 🙂

      • Brad Holland

        “…And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger
        those who attempt to pop up and destroy my browsing. And you will know I
        am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

  • Adrienne

    I’m of the first category and I use to just buy if it sounded like
    something that I needed.  Since being here online and seeing how many
    crappy products there are out there screaming in your face to “buy me”, I
    now will only purchase mainly from people I know.  See, I can change my
    thought process!  🙂

    Great post Dino, but I never expect anything less from you.


    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx Adrienne…you are a rock star 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Ok, This might be a “duh” question, but I have to ask because it is where I am running into stops, and I don’t think side stepping is going to do the trick. I’ve been here with this company/ life for almost 19 years. Yes, there are certain characteristics and buying triggers for the clientele we are most familiar with.

    We are transitioning from the known (and seasonal) into year-round, now this hasn’t been anything but “for a laugh and fun” until now. Enter me and this new world I find myself immersed in and completely head-over-heals in love with (and yes, Erica Allison’s guest post for you spoke directly to me! Grounded here, asking questions!) the internet and the world it opened to me (us).

    How do I find the answers about clients I do not have the experience with, pure Adventurers (not hunters)? Umm, better question, how do I make a profile of these folks so I can give them what they need and want to know and learn? Is there something that can help me with that? I have made a start with LinkedIn, and I found fluff- people that would squeal like little girls in a horror house…  Any direction? (other than time and more experience with the type?)

  • Kim Davies

    Hi, Dino.

    Most generalizations, like the ones you make here, are based on facts. Because really, do people really buy from providers they don’t know? Maybe they do, but only after researching a bit about that provider. 

    Trust is a basic requirement in availing a service or a product and people don’t put their trust on something they don’t know anything about. So, if we take the time to forge personal relationships with prospects, we would have a better chance of having them buy from us than if we brandish our ads in their faces even if they do not us yet. 

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  • Ryan Critchett

    I would respond in no less than a thousand words, because I’m so passionate about this, but.. in the interest of simplicity, and time, AMEN. It’s so true. It’s so on. It’s so happening. At least we get it. Solid post Dino.