Seth Godin Inspires People to Go, Make Something Happen at Art of Sales

At the Art of Sales Tuesday, Seth Godin, the renowned Internet content marketer, author of a new book “Poke the Box” and founder of Squidoo blew away the audience with his very metaphorical late morning keynote.

He said that the Internet was not built for people to use social media to retweet or post stupid things on Facebook, that it was about humans and that what we need is for you to lead us using the tools given.

That innovation always comes from the small, and the notion of spreading ideas is so important, rather than just copying and reporting.

That a digital asymmetrical world has created tons of leadership, where competence is no longer a scarce commodity.

For a history lesson, Godin said that in 1955 the distribution of behaviours was tightly grouped, so there was a much larger “box” to sell to, as consumers led simple lives that included community, family and work. By 2010 though, the distribution of behaviour had spread to weird- “outside the box” was more common than “inside the box” as people don’t live the simple lives they once did.

That’s because of the continued evolution of different forms of popular culture with the Internet is allowing for many different “tribes” to form as Godin called it- hence many different tribes to sell to. That now it will be very difficult to sell to anyone outside your tribe.

Still, Godin says there is tremendous opportunity to attract people to your tribe by solving problems and figuring out the answers to things that have never been figured out before. To “pick yourself on the Internet” as Godin called it.

One example of the latter is Duncan Stewart of Deloitte who once said at a student conference that as Director of Innovation his job is to find inconsistencies in the tech media’s perspective on technology to gain a competitive advantage.

Once you do attract people with your unique perspective as there is now cheap media and cheap connection, Godin says the sales person’s job has certainly changed in the last twenty years, as in many cases you no longer have to educate the consumer as they’ve already done their research before entering the store. Rather, that sales is just becoming about a human “transfer of emotion”.

That emotional transfer may allow the consumer to judge less on price as there is cheap output and a widespread idea that “if you write it down, I can find it cheaper”.

He says that the only people who will win are the ones who experiment in a world that is undergoing a fundamental shift, a revolution that is as big as any in the history of mankind.

To fight the resistance to run away when you’re being run at head on, and to have the notion that you are giving people gifts rather than doing them favours.

After all, Godin says that one’s best work is done is when you are solving difficult problems, which will allow people to see the world in different ways and give them the capacity to innovate and succeed. 

That the opportunity is now, rather than later.