I grew up in a small town and to this day love regional areas. Living or working in a country town can teach you some great business lessons, especially about know,like & trust. My grandfather owned a hardware store and my parents worked in service industries. In a country town, everyone has their role to play from the local policeman, baker, doctor, accountant or teacher.
My grandfather always taught me people do business with people they’ve built a relationship with and trust. His lesson was similar to the mantra ‘know, like and trust’ that has stood the test of time and been preached by many leading sales authors and speakers over the years.
When a new person comes to town, they have to work hard to become known, liked and trusted among the locals. I remember years ago when as a young doctor my husband (then fiance`) was sent to outback Queensland to fill in for the local doctor.
My husband was pretty fresh out of medical school and still had a baby-looking face. Some of his patients would come in and roughly say to him “Where’s the real doctor?” or “You don’t look old enough to be out of kindergarten”. He was feeling awkward and out of place.
I had some holidays from my work and visited to offer him moral support. I worked in the reception area, alongside the regular medical secretary. While I didn’t know about running a medical practice, I was confident in my ability to get my naturally shy fiance` connecting with the locals.
I was able to get everyone talking in the medical waiting room – people connected. We told stories about our background while people told us stories about their lives. We discussed the challenges of living in rural areas, such as the need for better health care or education. We would watch local football games, hang out in the pub, listen to the concerns of locals.
When it came time to leave people knew, liked and trusted my husband and were sad to see him leave. Connecting and building relationships with your target client, whether online or offline is a vital component of a successful business.
Respected business coaches and marketers are now saying stop concentrating on your social media following or complex marketing campaign and concentrate on building a true connection based on trust like my husband had to do in this small town.
I see many women at networking events and online business women’s groups who seem to think that to be successful they must have a huge social media following or elaborate marketing campaigns.
But recently, I’ve noticed leading business coaches have all been writing posts with similar messages. Women are focusing on the wrong elements in building a successful business and struggling in the process.
Their messages are similar that there are thousands of entrepreneurs making high incomes and having an impact, but you may not have heard them.
Their point is that most of the time a large social media following has nothing to do with your success or income. As coach Sonya Stattmann once told me: “I’ve looked under the hood of many businesses with large social media followings and let me tell you it’s not good.”
I’m a journalist now working with women leaders and changemakers to tell their stories and make an impact. However, I don’t choose my clients by their social media following. I have women come to me bragging about their social media following, but this is often superficial.
The women I work with and want to work with are humble and often too busy doing their work to have elaborate campaigns or huge social media followings.
Don’t get me wrong in the early days of my business I also was focusing on elaborate marketing campaigns or gaining a following. I study, research and work in the marketing sphere. However, I have become somewhat disillusioned with the low rates of conversion of mainstream marketing so now think outside the box.
For people like me working with clients on an individual basis, it’s about building a connection and trust rather than putting all of my energy into growing a social media following or elaborate marketing campaigns.
In the early days of social media and internet marketing, it was easier to make an impact. However, there is a lot of white noise online now without great substance. Talented and honest marketers all agree people are falling for the hype that you need followers and elaborate campaigns to get clients.
Marketing is changing rapidly so now needs to be strategised and can be highly valuable when you want to get to another level in your business. In the meantime, start with the basics like connecting with people and finding common ground to grow.