Can You Relate?
Guest Blogger, Kim Finley
One of the things my small business clients will hear me say over and over is, “People don’t buy from companies; they buy from people they like.” I find myself saying it so often, I believe, because I have a product-driven business. We build and sell websites and other forms of internet marketing…so people assume we must always sell on the merits of our products, service, etc.
I am not saying that does not matter; you have to have a solid foundation if you are going to be successful in business at all. But if the explosion of social media into the world of marketing, family, relationships, and business has shown us anything, it has demonstrated that you cannot take the relationship out of the business process.
Most companies that are currently thriving have a social media presence online, and the most successful ones have several iterations of presence across several different platforms. They are not only talking to their constituencies, they are LISTENING to them as well. They are having an on-going conversation with the people they are doing business with.
How does this apply to you, as a small business owner? Directly.
You have to have relationships with your customers, clients, prospects, employees, and the vendors that you deal with. The quality of those relationships, however, is largely up to you. A positive relationship can endure the occasional quality-control failure or a late order, and can facilitate an early delivery or a lower price or a better deal.
A positive relationship literally makes for a healthier, happier business climate…and therefore, has a direct impact on your bottom line.
There are some easy things you can do to help aid your relationship-building.
* Memory prods – Find a good trick for memorizing names, faces, and companies and putting them together, so you are never caught in an “I don’t remember you” moment. Taking a business card and making a note on it with an odd fact about the person (example: says he only wears blue shirts) will serve as a memory prod
* Follow up – Probably the most important thing to beginning and maintain a relationship of any kind is follow-up. This is where social media is a huge help; if that person is on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you have a very easy way to follow up immediately.
* Maintain contact – Don’t reach out once and never again. If you emailed them initially, follow up with a phone call in a week or so. If you were able to “friend” them on Facebook, make it a point to check their posts and comment every now and then. Engage! This also ensures top-of-mind consciousness, always an asset in business.
* Build the relationship – Here is where investing in a relationship really pays off. As you get to know one another, either on a business or personal level, you are certain to exchange information on each other’s families, exact occupational tasks, professionalism, needs, wants, and dreams. Once you know someone on that level they are a resource for you, and you are for them. That can ONLY pay off in your business world. Who else are they going to call or recommend if not the person they know, and more importantly, TRUST?
So get out there, engage with people, be authentic, make and KEEP friends. You will be the richer for it in every way!
Currently the owner and Sales Director of Commonwealth Creative Marketing (www.ccm-web.com), Kim Finley has been in sales, marketing, and management her entire adult career. While working for various businesses and non-profits, from a commissary brokerage to a construction firm to a toy manufacturer to being PTA president, she learned personnel management, leadership, diplomacy, sales, and marketing skills. Being a small business owner herself, she and her partners are driven to make sure that their small business clients get Fortune 500 services for their marketing dollars. Kim is currently serving as the President of the Southside Chapter of The Geekettes Club and is a Member of BNI-SEVA. She has two children, an incessantly barking dog, and lives by the Chesapeake Bay.
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Your partner in success,
Marketing, Mindset & Manifesting Coach