Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 09/21/2020
At the time of Christ’s death, there were 12 Apostles. About 350 years later, there were 30 million Christians. This occurred amidst a known population of under 200 million. That’s a growth rate that statisticians find amazing. The support of Emperor Constantine I (and his later conversion) and the advent of the Holy Roman Empire is generally considered as a catalyst.
But Christianity grew because every community performed the same rituals at the same time, unheard of in pagan communities or with Roman gods. It also grew because the communities served to support all members, so that the sick, disabled, orphaned, and destitute were not left to die, but were cared for. This was also a differentiating trait. Finally, with an average lifespan of about 30 years, and a terrible existence in the face of subsistence agriculture, brutal treatment, and no medical help, the promise of heaven for eternity was quite popular!
This isn’t a religious tract, but a brief foray into the future of sales. I think “selling” is ending, and enabling the buyer to buy is the future. A main engine will be evangelism, not less than it was in the days of St. Paul, the first real viral marketer. After his conversion, he preached in Corinth, Rome, Antioch, Cyprus, and so on. He told everyone who heard him to go spread the word themselves. All of my business for a long time has come from referrals and people who read my books. I’m in the “retail” business. At my events, people recommend my offerings and experiences to each other as they do on social media. But for corporate buyers, the literature for the past ten years has been quite clear that executives make decisions based on peer-level referrals (only four percent of which is from the internet—from Jonah Berger’s research). Think about it, how many times have people asked you for a good doctor or accountant or attorney?
I’m thinking success in the future isn’t so much finding the road to riches but instead traveling the road to Damascus.
Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.—Brian Chesky, cofounder of Airbnb
Advertising brings in customers, but word-of-mouth brings in the best customers.—Jonah Berger