May 5, 2015 by helenwaldron
“The first rule of marketing, Deborah, is not to hard sell, but to offer something attractive. The hard sell doesn’t work in our field. We have to be credible and develop trust. Trust is the best basis for teaching and learning. It has to be to our customers’ advantage to book us. It’s what you call a win-win solution.”
Speakeasy noticed Deborah’s look of disbelief.
“Let’s start with Facebook.”
“I’m not on Facebook,” she replied. “They spy on you.”
“Well, yes,” agreed Speakeasy. “You do need to be careful what you post. Look, I’ll just log into my profile. Me and Writewell have a business page where we post resources for our students. That’s what I mean by offering your customers something.”
“Where do you get the resources from?”
“Well, from other Facebook sites,” admitted Speakeasy. Deborah was very serious-minded for such a young woman, he thought.
“Actually, Facebook is great for teachers like us. You can get really lonely without someone to exchange ideas with. I’m in a few really good groups, where we discuss and share resources. It’s ideal for freelancers.”
“This group doesn’t look very friendly,” said Deborah.
“Well, no,” said Speakeasy, looking at the group she’d clicked on at random.
There was a silence as they both read the posts.
“Uhm, I’m new in that group.”
“What’s the matter? They’re arguing about teachers’ rights aren’t they? Now they’re all agreeing. Now they’re fighting again. Nasty.”
“Well,” said Speakeasy. That’s called flaming, and it doesn’t matter what they’re flaming about. They would argue about anything. They obviously don’t like each other. That’s another rule of business. Don’t pick people who look good on paper. Pick people you want to work with. That’s why it’s vital that the line manager has the final say in the recruitment process.”
Deborah turned away from the computer screen and looked up at him.
“And are you happy with me?” she asked him.
“Well, yes, of course, I am. You’ve all the qualifications, but more importantly Writewell and I knew that you fitted in with our style of business and that we could trust you.”
Deborah relaxed again, but there was definitely something the matter with her today.
“Errm. Don’t you usually work at this time?”
“I’m not going,” said Deborah. “They haven’t paid me for three months now, so I’m not going to work till they do.”
Deborah worked at a couple of language schools when she wasn’t with Speakeasy and Writewell. Language schools in Hamburg are two a penny and Speakeasy couldn’t actually remember which ones she worked in. When she had first come to them, they had asked her for references, and she told them that no one had ever given her one. Instead she he had talked about her work and her classes and that had been reference enough for them.
“I’m not really a Facebook type person,” she went on. “I have an account, but I never look in. It used to make me angry. When people posted things like “yum yum! This is what I’m having for dinner today…””
“That’s called a foodie,” put in Speakeasy.
“Yes, I had to suppress the urge to post something really offensive. I had to stop using Facebook. Is there such a thing as Facebook Rage? You know like road rage, when people turn into maniacs behind the wheel of a car.”
“Umm,” said Speakeasy, understanding that Deborah was probably angry about her work situation and that showing her Facebook was not cheering her up.
“There’s something very artificial about Facebook. Do you know that it started off by stealing college photos and holding the students up to ridicule by comparing them: “hot or not”. I think that’s the real Facebook. It’s been cleaned up now and I don’t trust that. Despite all the concerns about data misuse, when you google Facebook, do you know what you get? Celebrity news and new Facebook developments. Vorsprung durch Facebook. They’ve wiped their own history clean. But there’s always one article that gets leaked through, the one about how to delete your Facebook account. That’s still relevant for a lot of people.”
Deborah was getting angrier and angrier.
“There’s even a site called Facebook Stories (http://www.facebookstories.com/)
where you can tell the world how Facebook has changed your life for the better. I read a book about Facebook, but it was so sycophantic.”
“Did you see the film?”
“No, I couldn’t face it.”