P2P is the new B2B

January 2, 2021

In a world full of acronyms, is person to person (P2P) the new business to business (B2B) and what does that even mean?

A single sentence caught my eye in this post on LinkedIn and it got me thinking, in a world that has changed so much in such a short amount of time due to coronavirus, are the truly personal interactions between people going to be even more valuable for businesses when life goes ‘back to normal’?

It strikes me that the vast majority of interactions between people in businesses are based on one party wanting something from the other for their own benefit. Chasing a new order, chasing an outstanding order, selling the latest and greatest product and showing off the shiny new item. Each interaction is transactional, constantly pushing toward the end goal of a sale.

The truth is that every single one of us has so much more about us than our jobs. Yes it is a large part of our lives due the percentage of our days that it consumes but everyone has more to them than just the 9-5.

Think about it, the main reason sales people take clients on trips is to break out from the regular confines of the working environment. It builds relationships based on other shared interests and when people interact on a human level, strong bonds form.

A real life example I have is with a print rep I’ve known for around 16 years. In the time I’ve known him, he has worked for three or four different print firms but has always retained our business. The finished print is merely the commodity but the relationship which is forged on a mutual love of rugby means that it doesn’t matter where the physical printing takes place, I know that I’ll be well looked after.

Averaged out over a year, our print spend with him is minimal, probably four jobs at most but he will regularly call for a catch up and to see how my business is doing. No hard sell, in fact no sell at all, just a genuine catch up. He has no expectations of anything in return but I’ll recommend him whenever the opportunity presents itself and sometimes those recommendations become paying customers.  I’ve no doubt he will make them feel as welcome and valued as he does me, after all, word-of-mouth is still the best marketing in the world!

When we care about the individual and genuinely want to help, without expectation of anything in return, strong emotional connections occur and bonds are formed that will not only transcend the immediate piece of business but will lead to a life long connection that may pay off in 1 week, 1 year, 10 years or never and that is OK.

So here’s some homework for you. Today, reach out to five past or present customers without any ulterior motive other than just to see if they are OK. You can call, email, text, Facetime, Zoom, Skype, the choice is yours but make the effort, just to see how they are doing and have a catch up. No sales talk, no underlying motive, just purely see how they are, as a human, as a person. Do it with old friends as well, it is very therapeutic!

This is the LinkedIn post that inspired me to write this piece...

I just got a call from my local RBC manager (who knew!) and the opening line was, “Hi Ms. Ambeau, how are you and your family?” He then mentioned that the purpose of his call was to check in on us during this stressful time. He asked if I had any questions for him and that was it. No survey. No selling. Wow.

Just a PERSON connecting TO a PERSON.

Maybe P2P is the new B2B.

Let’s remember that it’s people, not target markets, customer avatars, or niches that we serve. It’s people! If the people behind the brands connect a little closer with the people that consume them, won’t it be better for all of us?

Shannon Ambeau

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Our opinions and observations about the world of business, branding and strategy.

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