I wonder about the level of relationships that we have in small business. SERIOUSLY. (I’m doing the eyebrow raise at the moment, cause I am very serious about this)
Let me explain.
Recently, I happened across a Facebook group who’s title led me to believe that the group was focused on discussing topics around small businesses in the USA. I was only in the group for about 24 hours and I realized it was far from that. It was really about link posting. Members of the group were sharing their respective website links and Facebook pages with statements like:
Interestingly, I thought the group was about exchanging ideas around small business. I didn’t realize it was more of an advertising group.
Here’s the thing. If people truly do business with who they know, like, and trust, wouldn’t it make sense to establish those 3 things as a basis for doing business? I get that at some point along the way, we need to inform others about what we do. After all, we all have bills to pay and food to buy (Cue Chocolate Covered Bacon Picture).
I’ve been in online networking groups, and in-person networking groups for business since 2004. I founded, ran, and sold, a successful website agency for 16 years, and I get how business is conducted. I understand the complexity of doing business, especially service based businesses, and I don’t know one person that would do business with someone else because that person posted a link about their own business. We must establish trust. We must give… in order to receive. Ivan Misner founder of BNI established that organization on the premise of “Givers Gain” and their motto matches that, just for that reason. It’s true, Givers do Gain!
I give away my intellectual property all the time. I was once asked, if you do that, why would anyone hire you to speak at their conference, or to consult with their business, and the answer is simple. You are the thought leader. If you give away your knowledge, if you share your expertise, people will follow you, they will care about your success and they will want to grow and learn from you. Ultimately they know there is more and they want it all. They want to work with thought leaders and people that are like minded and they want to work with people that they are aligned with!
The biggest result of giving away your knowledge is Trust. This is key. You can establish massive amounts of trust by sharing with others your expertise, and helping them with information. In the Know, Like, and Trust combination, I believe that Trust is the hardest to come by.
We can know someone rather quickly. A simple intro or handshake, and we know who they are.
We can like someone rather quickly as well. Liking someone doesn’t take too much time. Provided they don’t do or say something really out of line, we can get to the liking phase quickly.
It’s the trust factor that takes time. You can establish trust much quicker by providing information and guidance regarding your industry and intellectual property.
Be an Expert.
Be a Thought Leader.
Give away your knowledge!
Gain respect, followers, and people that will refer you! That’s one way to get more word of mouth referrals!
Don’t just be the person that flies around handing out business cards to people that don’t want them. Have a conversation. Focus on them, not yourself, or even your business. Care about others, and that will come back to you 10X!
The last thing we want is for someone to shove a banana in our face, when we might be allergic to it! Not even establishing the connection before understanding if I eat bananas…like bananas…or even want a banana.
Caring is the new connecting, find ways to care, and people will be sending you so many word-of-mouth referrals that you won’t ever have to do paid advertising again. It’s not intuitive, you need to work at it and build it over time.