I recently attended the Social Media Rockstar Event, a one day conference in Minnesota focused on bringing updated social media tools and topics to the attendees. From the beginning of the conference I could see a theme of making relationship marketing a priority emerge from many of the speakers.
It is critical to understand how we have done business in the past has changed because the way in which consumers buy has changed! The new buyer has digitally driven access to more information meaning that they have already made a decision on what they are buying in advance because they’ve done their own research, the only question left is – Who are they going to buy from? and that decision is made by earning trust through the relationships the buyer has made.
Make Relationship Marketing Your Priority
The keynote speaker, Marcus Sheridan known as the Sales Lion said not to look at business as B to B or B to C, it is time to focus on P to P or People to People which really means we are all in the business of building trust.
They key is knowing what questions people are asking about your business and then your job is to answer those questions at every opportunity. That means on your website, in your marketing materials, on social media and of course when you meet them face to face. Marcus related the story of his first business which was building fiberglass swimming pools. He discovered one of the #1 questions people asked was “How much does a fiberglass swimming pool cost?” So Marcus answered the question directly on his website which has resulted in his website being #1 in search results of pool companies because he answered the question everyone was searching for in Google.
Listening to your prospects and answering their questions should be your top priority. We want people that offer us some value in the buying process, by becoming a great resource you show you are credible and thus build trust so when that consumer who already did the research will choose to buy from you!
Honest and transparent content is the greatest sales and trust building tool in the world. – Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion
Create Better Relationships, Drive Better Results
I was privileged to be a speaker at this event and spoke on the topic of Social Selling. If you are not familiar with the term social selling, I want you to know it is NOT about selling, rather it is about connecting and serving others in a deeper, more meaningful way. I know that the deeper, more meaningful relationships I build result in my getting more business and more specifically for me I have and continue to get many referrals.
The steps I follow are:
1.) Know & understand my target market
2.) Research where to find those people. I leverage LinkedIn’s advanced search tool and compile a list of people I want to know.
3.) Engage these people with an invitation to my LinkedIn network, follow and engage with their posts, offer to be a resource or jump in the conversation and provide meaningful conversation.
4.) Follow target connections on other social platforms – engaging their posts and blog when possible
5.) Develop a content marketing plan that builds my authority and credibility. Post content on social media that is relevant and useful
6.) Provide my email subscribers the same relevant and useful information to solve their challenges
7.) Consistently show up! This is a huge credibility builder for me because people recognize I am always around both in-person and online.
Teaching what you are an expert in shows you actually want to be a great resource, you are committed and willing to share your knowledge. This could be in the form of blogging, speaking, workshops and educational marketing materials.
Consider relationship building as a long term strategy. Remember you have to earn trust before asking for a sale.