So awesome to see so many folks at the Seattle Local Business Summit yesterday. Over a dozen people thanked me personally for the providing such a impactful event(!) Really we need to thank Dex Digital. It was their generosity and forward thinking that brought together the rich content and compelling presenters on topics that are so relevant to small businesses right now.
SEO, SEM, pay-per-click advertising, social media, networking, branding. Running a small business requires us to become proficient on each of the topics. What a gift to have experts not only bringing us up to speed on these topics but also offering viable partnership solutions. The more you outsource, the more time you’ll have to focus on your core business, and the more effort you can spend on innovating and growing your business.
I presented a talk on the five rules of engagement for networking entitled, Your friends don’t trust you. Nor should they.
What follows is a summary of my talk and a link to the slide deck and resources.
At the foundation of community is, “I see you.”
Trust is not something you win. It’s something you build. And you need to take care of it.
There are five rules of engagement. Rule #1: Know thyself. What kind of business are you? Do you provide a service? Do you sell retail? Are you a manufacturing business? Are you a technology-based entrepreneur? The differences matter because small business owners, independent contractors and entrepreneurs have different needs and the networking organizations that offer opportunities to meet others cater to those unique needs.
Rule #2: Be human. The three authors of The Trusted Advisor have a Trust Test that goes like this: T = C x R x I / S. “T” is Trust. “C” “R” & “I” are Credibility, Reliability and Intimacy. “S” is Self-orientation. Credibility & Reliability is nothing more than are you who you claim you be and as good as you say you are. Intimacy is emotional comfort. The negative ingredient is self-orientation. Low self-orientation is recommending a competitor because they’re a better fit. High self-orientation is the sharmy sales-guy who’s always looking for a lead and moving on when he doesn’t find one. The higher your credibility and reliability, and the more comfortable you make others, the higher your self-orientation can be. It’s not rocket science. It’s being simply being human.
One definition of marketing is getting someone to know-like-and-trust you enough to reach in their pocket and give you money for your product or service. In business networking, Know-Like-Trust becomes Know-Recommend-Vouch. But not all businesses are the same. Some businesses can rely on simply knowing or liking. If your business requires a vouch in order to get a referral, how are you making that easier for those who in a position to send you a referral?
Social networking’s grandfather was Mark Granovetter who published the paper called “The Strength of Weak Ties.” In a nutshell, his study shows that people in your 2nd-degree network — friends-of-friends — are in a better position to send you new business. E.g. If Mike trusts Joe and Joe trusts you, Mike’s in a position to trust you too. How are you leveraging your weak ties?
One way to do so is by… rule #3: Show up. (Wood Allen said it best.) Attend events. Participate in online discussions. Follow up after you’ve met someone. Track the referrals you’re sent and thank those who’ve sent you a new client — it’s the best way for it to turn into more new clients.
Your friends don’t trust you. Nor should they. I have a friend from college who’s a bookkeeper. We’re social on Facebook and I like her. It doesn’t mean I can send her bookkeeping clients, I have no idea if she’s any good at bookkeeping. How many of your friends could say the same thing about your product of service? How can you change that?
ExactTarget.com conducted a study called Subscribers, Fans & Followers. Of all online consumers 43% said they had “liked” a brand. However 70% of those who had liked a brand said they didn’t feel they had given the company permission to market to them. And 39% said, “Marketers should NEVER interpret my ‘like’ as permission to post marketing messages that would appear on my News Feed.” What do people use Facebook for then? 59% of users say they use it to “maintain personal relationships.” Only 15% say they use Facebook for “professional contacts.” How are you using Facebook to engage with your customers?
How are business “friends” and personal friends different? They’re not. When you accept an invitation to connect with someone on a social network you’re becoming “digital friends.” They both follow the same rules of the Trust Test. Trust is something you build — rule #4. Build trust first before you start selling to anyone.
And that leads to rule #5: Be helpful. Professor Susan Friske did a study out of Princeton that can be summarized in the two questions people ask themselves upon first meeting you — How warm are you? How competent? Meaning, are you a friend or a foe? If you’re a foe, can you hurt me? If you’re a friend, help me?
At the very foundation your customers are asking, what’s in it for me? How are you answering that?
View the full slide deck here: http://www.slideshare.net/biznik/your-friends-dont-trust-you-slbs-2012