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November 6, 2014

Five Social Selling Tips to Learn From a ‘Tuk Tuk’ Driver

Last year, I had the pleasure of visiting Sri Lanka (my place of birth) and India again. Having lived in the former, and visited the latter on a number of occasions, I am well aware of the undeniable chaos, THE HEAVY TRAFFIC.

This sense of awareness (sounds mystical right), has taught me that reaching my destination on time in any of the larger cities is possible only via the three-wheel taxi fondly known as the tuk tuk. Also known as trishaws or three-wheelers, these little vehicles are a common sight in every country in South Asia.

What’s my experience in tuk tuks got to do with social selling?

Before we delve into the crux of this article, let’s identify the 5 salient features of social selling: 1. Be Local, 2. Be Social, 3. Be Mobile, 4. Measure and finally 5. Convert.

Now, jump in to the tuk tuk and join me for the ride of your life.

1. Be Local – Understand your social selling marketplace

Those of you who have traveled in a tuk tuk will know first-hand that these drivers have a thorough understanding of the market i.e. the roads and destinations and the commuters who are potential fares.

One morning, in Colombo, I stepped out of my hotel to get to a meeting. Upon stepping on to the main road I noticed the traffic and said to myself “Well, I am not going to get to my meeting on time today.”

Before I knew it, a tuk tuk driver stopped near me and asked me where I wanted to go. These guys, at a glance, can identify a potential customer and get his/her/their attention. Before I knew it, I was aboard, whizzing past the traffic.

He knew the roads and destination so well that he took the shortest and most effective route.

How many of us really know our market place before we start our social media marketing activities?

Have you got a system to identify potential customers on a social media platform?

Do we know how to handle the peak time social conversations, get the attention from our target market and avoid the roadblocks during our social media campaigns?

Being local is an essential trait for that tuk tuk driver to survive in a market place, where the competition shows no sign of slowing down. Your business too is no exception.

2. Be Social — Connect and Engage with your socially connected customers

Most tuk tuk drivers, upon noticing you’re not from around, will initiate conversation. The driver I was with broke the ice by noticing my anxiety to get to the meeting on time and said: “Looks like you are in a hurry sir. What time do you need to be there?”

“Twenty minutes,” I said.

He turned back and said with a smile “Do not worry sir. I will get you there ahead of time.”

Looking around at the heavy traffic, I said to myself, “No, no you won’t.”

But, he did end up delivering on his promise.

During the journey, he asked me about my stay in Colombo and travel plans. He even provided me with useful tips on where to eat and how to avoid traffic etc. This rapport he built with me led to him asking whether I would require him to pick me up after my appointment. His casual nature and promise to take me to my destination on time put me at ease. I started to freely talk as I felt that someone at least cares about my stay in Colombo.

Now ask yourself:

How many of us start engaging with our customers to understand their needs and assist them with useful content to build trust and rapport?

Building trust is essential to convert your fans and prospects into customers.

3. Be Mobile — Maximum Accessibility using your smartphone device

Upon reaching my destination, the driver flashed his mobile phone and told me, “Sir, I told you I will bring you on time. Give me a call about 15 minutes before you finish, and I will come to get you.”

I thanked him profusely and saved his number. Although the context of mobile may be different in terms of the scene I presented and mobile technology, the essence is about accessibility. The fact that he was prompt to give me his mobile number to call him for future commutes shows the extent to which he understands the necessity of being accessible by customers.

Is your business website accessible via smart phone?

With most of your customers accessing social media sites via their Smartphones, it is inevitable that they land on your website also using their mobile devices. If your website fails to adapt to Smartphones, your digital marketing and social media strategy have both failed.

4. Measure – Identify objectives and monitor the social media campaign results

Through by-lanes and gravel roads we went and voila, my destination, I’ve got to my destination with five minutes to spare. The driver looked at his watch and confirmed it for me. I was blown away. From the time we started the journey, he had accurately calculated that he’d get me to my destination with five minutes to spare.

His strategy was implemented with the objective, “Sir, I will get you there ahead of time.” He then measured the result and confirmed it to me when the journey ended.

How many of us know exactly what we want from our social media strategy? Even if we do and implement accordingly, do we stop to monitor and measure results to see if we are on the right track? Do we measure the number of fans, likes, retweets, shares etc.?

Measuring is essential as this will help us to take corrective action in the future. My tuk tuk driver nailed it, spot on.

5. Covert — Complete the social selling cycle and repeat

Most businesses today are concerned about closing the sale. They don’t seem too concerned about generating repeat sales or building a loyal customer base. As I mentioned in the ‘mobile’ section of this post, he made it a point to give me his contact number, and establish solid rapport with me to ensure I will utilize his services for all of my other trips around Colombo. And guess what? I did.

His conversations with me during the ride was all about gathering intelligence and establishing a plan to ensure he is my ‘ride’ during the rest of my stay here.

How many of your customers are repeat customers?

What actions have you taken to ensure today’s customer returns tomorrow or recommended your business to his/her peers?

We’ve arrived at our destination and I hope you’ve enjoyed the tuk tuk ride. And, now your mind is buzzing with questions you need to start asking yourself to uplift your social selling strategy.
Remember, most breakthrough thoughts and ideas are learnt by immersing yourself in what’s happening around you. Even the simplest of things and incidents have a way of stimulating your thinking and giving amazing insights into complex problems; just like my tuk tuk ride did.

Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments when indulging in everyday tasks?


Logan Nathan is based in Melbourne, Australia is an Internet marketing consultant and trainer. A self-taught expert, Logan Nathan has invested tens of thousands of dollars in online marketing solutions to take his business from the start-up stage to one of Australia's leading online marketing, social media consulting and coaching organizations. To view a free online presentation on how to generate leads using LinkedIn, Logan is offering readers free training titled of his highly acclaimed ‘The 5 Step Formula to Generate LEADS on Demand using LinkedIn’ available for immediate access at