“We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today.” – Jay Walker-Smith, Yankelovich Consumer Research
In today’s social media dependent world, thousands of brands are vying for the attention of your clients and customers on a daily basis. And yet when it comes to remembering these marketing messages, we absorb very little. We’re so familiar with this constant exposure to advertisements – we’ve learned to block them out.
In many ways, social networks have actually reinforced damaging behaviors when it comes to forming business relationships. The mistake many brands continue to make in their social media marketing tactics is they make it about them and not about you.
Meanwhile, you are the one they really want to connect with; the one they want to build a relationship with. Because at the end of the day, lasting and trusting relationships between brands and their customers are an essential part of business.
After all, people remember the relationships, not the ads.
Whether you’re looking to spark a new connection online or build upon a working relationship in person, you need to re-evaluate the way you network. The best way to approach networking is to look at what you can do for the person you’re connecting with.
The Power of Personal Connections
Life is personal, and as much as we try to say it ain’t so, business is personal too. When you approach business networking with the intentions of giving and connecting with people, you create real relationships that are not only mutually beneficial, but deeply satisfying.
You are not going to find this result if your networking efforts are just a means to a financial end. People will see right through you. Instead, your sincerity and passion should be evident in everything you do. This is how you gain the trust and respect of your current and future clients.
Author Todd Duncan calls this approach to business high trust selling. “Long-term sales success happens when high trust exists – when you are a trustworthy salesperson running a trustworthy sales business,” he writes, “and when it’s clear to your clients that you are a person of integrity who will not only do what you say, but who also has the means to deliver.”
The Value of Sharing Expertise
So how do you build that trust with a new or prospective client?
There is a reason you got to where you are in your business. You have experience. You have talent. You have knowledge. And the most effective way to get a client or customer to believe in what you do is through sharing your expertise.
Typically, your clients are coming to you for a specific service or product. But your skill sets don’t stop there. As you make the effort to get to know your clients better, pay attention to additional problem areas you can help solve. Go above and beyond the services they initially expected from you. Sometimes, giving something away for free – whether it’s free advice, a free blog post, or a free product sample – helps to boost your client’s confidence, which will potentially lead to a broader scope of work, a longer-lasting relationship, and yes, more pay.
The Potential to Close the Gap Online
Once you’ve taken those steps to building a strong relationship with a client, make it as easy as possible for them to stay in touch. One of the most effective ways to do this is through connecting over social media.
Whether you’re adding a contact to LinkedIn after a networking event, inviting customers to reach out on Twitter to share their experiences, or directing a client to a recent blog post for further support, establish a connection early on and make it a priority to engage directly. Then take it a step further, and continue the conversation online. Remember, social media is meant to be social.
Whatever you do, be honest, be transparent, and be yourself. Your clients and customers are choosing to work with you for a reason – because you made an impression at a personal level. By continuing your efforts to develop strong and rewarding benefits, your business – and your career – will continue to thrive.
Like they say: the proof is in the pudding. Growing your business isn’t just something we yap about. Take a look at the work we’ve created with our clients.