The old way of selling: Entice buying with promises, claims or discounts. Sales material and people are shiny and glossy. Promises are grandiose and often just shy of too-good-to-be-true. There are loyalty programmes too: The more you buy, the more you are rewarded. But you have to buy first.

The new way of selling: Get customers to appreciate you/your value first, and know that they will buy when they are ready and if your product suits them. In a way, this is a loyalty programme in reverse.

An upside down loyalty programme (to paraphrase Alan Weiss): I know you haven't bought anything yet, but here’s some value up-front for you. I will treat you as if you were already a long term customer. My aim is to be of service, to help; rather than to sell. When you are ready to buy, you know how to find me.

The underlying assumption is that the customer, in turn, is a person who will appreciate this value, respect the effort I have put into it, and acts as ethically as I would. If they do otherwise, then they are not a customer I want!

(Image from Wikipedia)