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Tribe Selling

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Casey ConradCasey Conrad

I know, it sounds funny to say, "Tribe Selling," but looking closely, one realizes that all financially successful industry trends have a "tribe" element. Webster's Dictionary defines a tribe as, "A group of persons having a common character, occupation or interest." Less formally, and often referred to regarding social media messaging, the saying, "Find your peeps," is used. This expands the tribe definition to not just an interest but more a similar mission or cause, something that impassions and inspires a group.

Of course, the concept of tribes in marketing is not new. In his 2008 book, Tribes, Seth Godin encourages marketers to identify or create a movement of similarly-minded individuals and get the tribe excited by a new product, service or message. For Godin, leading marketers actually create the tribe, hence a following of like-minded people who will give you their money!

In sales, getting the money is the end goal. The challenge is that no one likes to get sold. I've coined the term "Tribe Selling" to refer to the phenomenon where large groups of like-minded people willingly give you their money with little resistance and no bad feelings.

CrossFit is a perfect example of Tribe Selling. Regardless of anyone's personal opinion as to the safety aspect, you can't deny that CrossFit is a huge marketing success. In fact, if you're a more traditional gym owner, the whole CrossFit movement might frustrate you. You have a gorgeous fitness facility full of the latest and greatest equipment, an amazing staff, long open-hours and tons of amenities and services, yet you struggle to charge $40 a month.

A CrossFit operator opens up in an industrial-like location with virtually no build-out, hours limited to class times, no staff, practically no marketing and certainly no amenities, and it has a few hundred members who kindly pay $150+ per month to beat themselves up with super challenging workouts. From a marketing perspective, it's the modern-day Curves, it misunderstood by the mainstream, underestimated by competitors, yet ultimately, imitated in and outside of traditional fitness facilities.

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