Don’t Make A Sale, Make A Friend First

The last post I had on Hit Exchange News created quite a stir. Again, there are some that see the power of social surfing, and there are some that don’t. One of the main things I noticed is that people who embraced age old practices along with creating a wonderful brand in the social side are seeing massive results. So my advice would be this…

Stop worrying about the ‘sale’…

Make a friend first!

I am hearing how results are down, it takes ‘too much time to be social’, and blah blah blah. I’ve seen results soar for our members and for our businesses across the board because we have stopped worrying about the ‘sale’. Our results are now based on people. How many people can I say ‘hi and thank you’ to in a live environment.

We want to concentrate on creating happy surfers and happy members first, and we feel the sales will follow. And it’s been working. It’s pretty simple really, if members are bored, they do things like load up 10 tabs and power surf. However if they are engaged, interacting with others, they are happy and only surfing maybe 2 tabs at once.

Happy, engaged members = results

But what are results? A sale? Maybe a new sign up to your list? How about a click through?

For TimTech (and yours truly) results mean creating happy members and meeting new people interested in well…Not being bored to death while trying to build a business online. I have learned the most by doing, not by listening to someone in a suit tell me how to make money online…The best teacher ever is experience and why not have a little bit of fun while doing it.

So yeah, this stuff may not be for everyone, and that’s fine…But I firmly believe that if you worry less about where the next sale is coming from, and more about engaging others and talking to members, the sales seem to come in…Automatically.

What’s your thoughts on this? Is Olson out to lunch, or is the new business model online…Let’s be friends first?

Jon Olson

I'm Jon Olson, I've been publishing Hit Exchange News since 2003 and been involved in the traffic exchange industry since...Well, the beginning :) I'd love to network with you as you browse the pulse of the traffic exchange industry! I am also a HUGE fan of reading your comments. I will respond to every single one! Poke around and enjoy the 'News! And thanks for hanging out...

27 thoughts to “Don’t Make A Sale, Make A Friend First”

  1. Hey bro, I have been hearing this “results are waning” argument for a while. It seems to come and go doesn’t it?

    Either way, I can’t say I have been effected by it. If you follow the trends and make changes to your business to consider those trends you shouldn’t have any problems.

    You might not like the trends that are popular, but that doesn’t mean they don’t effect you and your business.

    Point is… DON’T IGNORE the obvious!

    Things are moving, get moving with em.

  2. Hey Jon, thanks for sharing a wonderful and awe inspiring post with us. You know what they say “You can pick your nose, you can pick your friends, but you cant pick your friends nose”…

    With that, relation ship building is a essential, and is just one key element in building a strong foundation for online success.

    The best way to “Close a customer” is to let them close themselves!

    A customer will not close themselves unless they have enough information from a know, like, trust environment enough to make a purchase.

    So yes Forget about the “Sale” and Start building relationships that will bring you other people to help them succeed, and your business will grow and flourish.

    The relationships you grow will be in vibration when you need them the most.

    Jon we love you man.. Can we pick your nose? LOL
    Thanks for the awesome post brother.

    The Blakester

  3. Hey Jon –

    I loved reading all the comments on the last post and I think this is a natural progression to the next key point. What is your intention with your online activities? Making sales – well we are in business and making sales is clearly one of the goals. I am focusing on creating a “sustainable business,” which cannot be accomplished without growing true and valuable relationships.

    I think it all comes down to creating value for everyone who choses to engage with our businesses. I look at sites like “Hits Booster Pro” (#4 on TE List and #4 on Affiliate Funnel) and “Hit2Hit” (#6 on TE List and #3 on Affiliate Funnel)… these sites are doing great, their members love these sites and they are respected. These site have no chat, no social integration, and a very old school design, yet they work.

    My point that although I personally am actively pursuing the social integrated, chat oriented, new school model at S.W.A.T. Traffic, I do not think this is the only way. There is no silver bullet or one way to build a successful exchange.

    There doesn’t need to be a right or wrong way to have success -other than not caring about people and the needs of your members, advertisers, and colleagues. ADD VALUE first in all of your interactions and don’t lose focus on the customers you already have and the rest will take care of itself and the results will come.

    Great job Jon drawing out some very valuable opinions across a wide range of perspectives.


    P.S. The ROI on Social Media for me has allow me to make quantum leaps!

  4. John – Yes sir. Ignoring it is a real bad idea it seems lol

    Robert – thanks man, loved having you at the Sweeva Surf Party this week too. Great having you comment on sites. We’ll do it again soon.

    James – Need to keep the discussion going. I know some folks might be sick of this but again, I firmly believe this is how important putting members first is…

  5. I am concerned about the saturation effect that repeatedly happens among traffic exchange owners in which every TE owner jumps on the proverbial bandwagon and saturates it’s members with the same thing on all the TEs. Members then return to their old school TEs and wait for the “next great thing.” I have written about this on my advice series on my 2 traffic exchanges. I really like the idea of social surfing, but I see this rapidly moving towards saturation among traffic exchanges. I hate to see this fall by the wayside the way that many other great TE concepts have done.

  6. Bill – Some will embrace it, some won’t. And the majority don’t so LOL No worries man, saturation just means more people talking and that’s a good thing.

  7. One thing I like about surf chats is it is quite transparent, in that it is fairly easy to get a “feel” for a person through what they post in chat. Not that I’m judging them, rather I’m making a mental note of those whose values align with my own. Those are the people I will engage with when possible, and will pay attention to their recommendations. I have to admit that I’m not usually active in chats due to physical limitations, but the people that do chat often attract silent admirers like myself. And make sales as a result. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That said, my absolutely favourite place to socialize is at TELive. You guys have created a lovely and fun community there. Thanks so much for giving me a place to relax and hang out, and sometimes I even learn a thing or two about TEs! lol

  8. It’s impossible for me to choose any sides because I have been able to assimilate into both environments and enjoy them both.

    The important thing is that TE Owners are passionate for what they stand for and that benefits the members (advertisers and surfers).

    We just have to be more respectful, agree to disagree and commend the other person’s willingness to fight the good fight to provide a better place to market for their members.

  9. Jon,

    Very often,
    differing opinions appear to be completely at odds.

    This occurs,
    anytime passionate people are adjusting to progress.

    The outcome,
    is usually an unexpected synthesis of all viewpoints.

    Gotta rest now,


  10. Jon,

    Really appreciate the thoughtful post and I can definitely agree with you.

    As you and about 1,000 other people have said before “word of mouth is the best for of advertising”, but social is way more than about advertising it is about human interaction and trust.

    That being said, it doesn’t necessarily require human interaction to create a successful business model. Ever try talking to a human being when you have a problem at Google with one of their services or want answers? I know that it is at least difficult, if not impossible, to get to a human being there.

    On the otherhand, Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire in history be trying to connect us all in the most social and humanly interactive site on the internet today. Two different business models done two different ways on two very powerful internet companies.

    The bottom line is it all comes down to a choice of how the business and the owners intend to operate.

    But definite food for thought, so a great post.


  11. Hi Jon,

    Good stuff dude! As I said on your last post, there is a place for the old as well as the new. But, the only way forward is to embrace both.


  12. My new saying is “Not everyone likes Chocolate Ice Cream” That is OK… though I love it and many do it is OK not to like it. There are other flavors and I say to each his own.

    I do what I do and I love it. I am a surfer and a chatter. I surf some really great sites that do not have chat but I surf them for a totally different reason.

    I went in the chat room and just started being myself. I love to help people and sure it makes me some money but most important it makes me some really GOOD friends.

    I just reconnected with a friend this week on facebook that have not talked to in about 12 years. We used to work online together.

  13. Jimmey – Yeah man I agree. Again, I will just defend my position when I hear garbage like social surfing is a waste and being social doesn’t help one’s results. =) *i’m stubborn*

    Carl – Right on man, agreed.

    Michael – Maybe. But there is a huge difference. Google is always looking on how it can become more social. Facebook doesn’t look at how to improve SEO. That tells me a lot.

    Paul – Yessir. The people embracing both are seeing massive results.

    Brenda – You get it. And while you are being social you have placed a lot of personal branding and ‘recommendation marketing’ into your business. =)

  14. Jane Austen apparently said that “business may be bring you money, but friendship hardly ever does”.

    I suspect if she were alive today, she’d be spinning in her grave!!


  15. IT is starting to amaze me how many blogs are popping up on this topic. Website owners are split in to 3 camps from what I see.

    The ones that want social but donโ€™t know to achieve IT.
    The ones that are die hard against IT.
    The ones that are pioneering IT.

    IT seems to me that this is the area where the lines between the first two are blurry as you have people commenting against due to the limited resources they have.

    Fundamentals are important and having access to a solid programmer so that you are not limited are every bit as important

  16. I think about it at both sides. I never see the harm in making a new friend. I’ve had people on facebook actually sign-up to my list and I don’t even know them. Because I’m approachable and available for discussion it helps alot. One of the things I admire about you guys at TimTech is that you are available for discussion its much quicker and faster than a support ticket. I’m sure that’s something alot of people appreciate. Know,Like, Trust! It’s easier when you engage people.

  17. The entire “social” platform for marketing has obviously been very much a part of our focus over the past 3 years … ever since we added era to our family of TEs.

    Follow this up with IM faceplate last fall, and our direction is obvious. But the reason we are so focused on “social” is because it works and it will continue to work over the long haul.

    As James stated, people are definitely split in their use of social media, and more often than not, it’s because they are simply impatient (which then leads to a lack of understanding).

    With technology moving at break-neck speed, people have instant access to pretty much everything nowadays and this breeds impatience in all aspects of life. The overall patience of people has shortened dramatically over the years and will continue to shorten … this is just a fact of life.

    Ever wonder why 99% of IM products pitch the “quick fix instant red button” kind of strategy. It’s because that’s what 99% of the market will pay for. The desire/need for instant results is directly related to how quick and easy it is for people to get pretty much anything nowadays.

    And so here lies the “problem” with using social strategies in marketing … it is NOT instant and results are slow to materialize. You have to put some serious time and energy into the social model before you are likely to see MEASURABLE results (ie. money!).

    BUT … the lasting effects of using social are massive and perpetual. The only trick (which is way easier said than done), is to get people to understand social, and invest the time and energy required to see it through.

    Keep pushing it Jon … you are definitely on the right path and little by little, people will see it.

  18. Hey, I’m a fan of Paul Dobson! He’s got a career waiting for him in standup comedy!

    Social marketing will be fine until it gets to be populated by social marketers. I still recoil from memories of the 80’s where MLM heavy hitters kept pressing their business cards on me at every party I attended.

    “Friends” should never have to ponder the question of whether they are a friend or a business prospect.

  19. Paul – I’ll take a friend over money any day =)

    James – Yeah man, you get ‘IT’ =)

    Robert – Yes sir. If you ever need anything, you can use the support ticket system, but it’s much easier to give Larry a shout LOL

    Tyler – bam bam bam bam! That’s me pounding on my desk in celebration LOL Thank you sir, you were one of the pioneers of this stuff, I love that you see what we are trying to do as well.

    Gary – yeah marketers can ruin the social stuff. That’s why the message should always be friend first, sale after!

  20. Hi Jon,

    I think that being Social is a very big part of one’s biz, however the chat box is only one way for people to get to know you. There are many other ways that the members can get to know the Owners and vice versa. For example, I am always myself in whatever I do. I love people, I love my members, I like to joke around and have fun while doing business, and so people get to know me even through my Newsletters and emails I send out. I think that is the first part of the process.

    I always give out my Yahoo IM ID and Skype ID so that members can reach me anytime through either medium. I talk to many of my members one on one through them, and I have gotten to know a lot about my members that way. I have pictures of some of my members, their kids, newborn babies, and all kinds of things. I know quite a bit about some of their personal lives and give advice when I can, and they know things about my life as well.

    I also might contact someone on Google Talk if I happen to see them and say ‘Hi”. My members are my online family, and I have made some very good friends. I have had quite a few members tell me that they appreciate my honesty and openness, and they trust me.

    I do occasionally go on the chat boxes and chat, but for me I find it difficult to try and surf and carry on conversations, and so I would rather connect through other mediums.

    My main point here is that you definitely need to have a connection with your members, but there are many more ways of doing that than just the chat boxes. However someone decides to make that connection, may it be through Yahoo IM, Skype, Google Talk, or some other way, you have to let your members get to know who you are, and vice versa.

    Don’t you think that having a member site where there is no one getting to know anybody, no laughter and humor going on, stories being told etc, wouldn’t that be a pretty boring site?
    I think so, and I don’t think anyone would want to stay around very long…not even myself! lol

    I try to make things exciting at the site each and every day too by having different contests and things each day or every other day. I would even get bored if I didn’t do that, so I can just imagine how the members would feel.

    And one last thing and then I will end. I also believe in giving back to my members. They pay out their hard earned money to upgrade and buy advertising etc, and if it wasn’t for them there would be no site. So, I like to give a little of that back to them.

    Okay, enough of my ranting for now! LOL Get Connected People!


  21. Hi All,

    If you put enough ppl doing the same thing in the same space they will eventually start talking. Some will talk more than others, some will help others, some will be helped and other just observe ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s basic human nature and the longer we interact with familiar faces (or user names) the more we will associate with like minded individuals. That has been the progression in internet marketing once the number of hyped programs has reached saturation level and people are looking for more than that. Those that complain and don’t move with the changes are destined for extinction. It’s adapt or miss the boat. In another 1-2 years we will look back as one or more changes takes TE’s and the whole online marketing in directions we cant yet predict. It’s been alot of fun so far and with the right focus it will continue to be fun. If start complaining about lack of success I know I will have fallen off the boat and missed the change(s) that have occurred. Just my random thoughts LOL


  22. There are plenty of opportunities to be social and engage your members outside of a traffic exchange chat box, I think it’s great that we have options with exchanges that do integrate the social aspect within the exchange itself, and those that do not, and also that outstanding results can be achieved with both. The only RIGHT way to do things is the way that works for you, and with all the exchanges of different features styles and flavors, it’s easy to find one plenty that work with your personal style, or allow you to easily adapt your style to work with them.

  23. I just read John Guanzon’s blog post, “Traffic Exchanges Divided”, and I think it says it all in a nutshell…

    Social surfing is one of many features offered by TE owners as a way to attract their members. You, as a business owner/affiliate marketer, can choose to either use the feature or not. Some people feel more comfortable in a social environment where there is a lot of interaction…some do not. And, as Marilyn points out, chatting in a TE is not the only way to be “social”.

    The bottom line (and, yes, there IS a bottom line if you’re online trying to earn an income) is to not be closed-minded and TRY OUT a feature or particular method and TRACK your results. If one of them bears fruit, great! If one doesn’t, then you move on to the next. What have you got to lose, especially if what you’re doing right now isn’t working?

    The heated discussions back and forth, the differing comments and perspectives from owners and surfers alike all make for very interesting reading. But we are all unique human beings with our own strengths and weaknesses…what will work for some will not work for others. But YOU’RE not going to know one way or the other whether something works until YOU try it out.


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