Question 318 of 365: What is the difference between support and sales?

You will support your ideas any way that you can. You will defend them. You will decry alternatives. You will link to items that reiterate your claims. You will pursue those who want to debate you, and you will wrestle with the intellectuals that try to pick your words apart. You believe in something and no one is going to turn that belief into doubt.

But there is a difference between doing that as a member of a community and doing it is someone that is trying to sell the idea to the community from the outside. A community member has credibility. A community member is welcome in off-topic conversations as well as brainstorming sessions for solutions. A salesperson is welcome no where that isn’t a hosted space, no where that doesn’t directly involve a transaction. As a salesmen, you have no real friends. You have contacts and leads.

Support is what members of a community do. Annoyance is what salespeople do.

Injecting yourself into a conversation just to plug your idea is regarded as spamming the community. We chuck spam out with every other processed ideastuff. And that is all you have to offer. You aren’t creating anything new. You have an ideastuff that manages to look slick, but under the microscope of everyday use and asking good questions it fails miserably. Support backs off, thinks thoughtfully about the needs of those around and shifts focus with the conversation.

Support tracks usage. Sales brags about it.

Support forges relationships. Sales is always closing.

Support listens. Sales talks.

So, how can I support those that are interested in what I have to say? I can connect those that are interested with one another and create a space for all of us to collaborate. I can let everyone know that I love telling stories, especially others’ stories of success. I can wrestle with the hard questions and admit when what I am doing is wrong. I can push the development of my ideas until they work for those in my community. I can take breaks and let others do the supporting. I can promote others and not just myself.

My successes are measured in conversations and not units. The better the collaboration, the more fulfilling my work is. The larger and more engaged the community, the more change is enacted. The more I support, the less I have to sell.

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