Several of the entries in the 12 week challenge contest talk about how difficult it is to “make the transition” from online acquaintance to business client or associate.
Before we can make that transition, however we have to establish the relationship.
That’s the “sermon” for today’s post.
The “KLT Factor” – know, like, and trust – are always a hot topic in the business world. People have to know you, like you, and trust you, at least to SOME degree to be wililng to do business with you.
For example, you may not know a thing about that pimply faced, rookie salesman trying to sell you a dryer, but because they work for a well-respected mega store in your community, you trust that they won’t steer you wrong – or if they do, you’ll be able to sue the pants off the mega store.
Some level of KLT has been established.
If you have NO desire to work with the consultant down the street because she bad-mouthed a competitor during a presentation, her KLT factor with you is pretty low – even if she’s your sister.
To be blunt, telling everyone how grat your product is, or how wonderful your company is, or that you just won an all-expense paid trip to the Bahamas is NOT building your KLT factor in the eyes of your customers. IF they already know you, or like you, they may be happy for you, but they don’t care about your good fortune anymore thant they care about themselves.
It’s always about them.
If I closed the post there, it should suffice for those serious about building a servant-minded enterprise. Disney built an empire around the concept of caring for the customer – and they have the overpriced burgers to prove that what they do works.
The companies that have stuck around for centuries or more are those that put the right thing in front of the ROI. They care more about their customers than themselves.
But many of us are too concerned with ourselves to have that kind of concern for our customers.
And the words “get what you want by helping other people get what they want” become only so many nice words.
You’ve heard me talk before about providing value. Mike Dandridge, in his book “The One-Year Business Turnaround” says that Value is in the eye of the customer. You can give them a 10% off coupon, free shipping, and tickets to “Riverdance”, but if your customers find no value in that, those aren’t valuable additions to the product.
And fast turnaround, or “excellent customer service” are supposed to be standard. Again, not value added benefits for a customer.
Sometimes, doing something of value means making a sacrifice. Sometimes a BIG sacrifice. Not always, but sometimes.
Why did thousands of people sign up for my Direct Sales Super Summit in March? There are dozens of free training calls all over the place. There are many speakers that talk on similar topics for a fee.
The reason people signed up is because they saw the VALUE in what I was providing: quality information they could use to impact their lives, their businesses right NOW at a reasonable investment.
And when my customers email me they say things like “do you remember last month when I placed that order?”
Of COURSE I remember. You’re my customer. You put food on my table and clothes on my kid’s back. You are my livlihood, my bread and butter, keeping the wolves from the door! I try to touch every single transaction at least once to remind myself to be grateful for everyone that comes through “the doors” of my business.
That’s value to some of my customers. They want to know that someone – a REAL human being – is behind all the blog posts, emails, newsletters, etc.
To others on my list, it’s no big deal, they rarely communicate with me, and they like it that way. And that’s okay with me, too.
The point is to meet people where they are, provide what THEY believe is valuable. THAT’S when you build a real relationship. Help people. Maybe they could care less about your biz opp today, but need their flat tire fixed.
Taking the time to help with their flat could be the thing that they remember 6 months from now when they stumble on your card after having lost their job. You thought you’d never hear from them again, and what a waste of a perfectly good afternoon, and oh my, your hands were so dirty. But they remembered that when they needed help (something of the UTMOST value), YOU were there. And now they need “help” again. So they call you.
It happens more times than I care to count. Building trust isn’t a dog and pony show. you don’t do it just when it’s convenient. You do it because it’s part of who you are, part of what you stand for. When you establish trust, people begin to like you and then they want to get to know more about who you are and what you have to offer.
It’s about integrity. It’s about helping first, and selling later. Or maybe not selling at all. you never know who’s watching you perform the random acts of kindness that make us better people.
But if you invest yourself in your business this way, you can’t help but win. It’s how the Carnegies and Motts and Rockefellers of the world managed to KEEP the wealth they worked so hard to earn.
During the horrible market crach in the 20’s a 3+million dollar embezzlement scheme was found out in one of the biggest banks in my community. The former president of the bank, having virtually no liability for the debacle, could have easily washed his hands of everything, leaving all the depositors to fend for themselves, most likely ending up with nothing.
But he chose to front his own money – and approach lenders in the bigger markets to help cover the debt so that the honest, hard working people in my community wouldn’t lose everything. He didn’t have to do it. He CHOSE to do it. Not to save face, but to helpa community of which he’d grown very fond. Not only did he save the financial lives of so many people, he got all his money back and then some – and lived out his days as one of the wealthiest members of our community.
He was a man of intergity, ingenuity, trust, respect and strong moral character. He gave and gave of himself, his finances and more. And in return, grew a powerful company, built a foundation for the less fortunate, and left an amazing legacy that fuels this community to this day.
I never met the man – he died before I was born. But his life is an integral component to what makes my community what it is today.
That’s the kind of value we need to be providing to each one of our customers. If we don’t enjoy what we’re doing, or who we’re working with enough to be willing to make sacrifices to help them, why are we doing it in the first place?
Direct Sales isn’t for everyone. Being a business owner or an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. It requires great sacrifice – of ourselves, our time, energy, money – sometimes our families, our finances, our homes.
What are you doing to provide REAL value to the people in your business? Are your business contacts like family to you?
I remember a class I took once when I was in real estate. the instructor said as an agent, we had to treat all our buyers like they were our grandmother and all our sellers as if they were our little sister. The idea is that you’d want to get them the very best possible deal, so that everyone wins, and no one feals cheated. that doesn’t mean doing “just enough” but giving out UTMOST.
And frankly, so many of us just don’t do that. We’ve learned how to get by. We look for the “magic pill” and we want everything to come easy.
To quote The Princess Bride “Whoever said life is fair?” Where is that written? Life isn’t always fair.”
But if we give our utmost, the hard work is rewarded in more ways than we can ever imagine. That’s when real trust is built, lives are changed and business is done.
In business, there are many ways to build relationships, and the beauty of online marketing is that you can move through this process at a more predictable pace by using tools and strategies designed to decrease the germination period. The sooner you can establish trust, build rapport and create likability, the sooner business can be done.
In the 12-Week Challenge, we’ll take a look at several tools you can use to not only build rapport, but automate some elements of the relationship building process, so that you can run a more efficient business that focuses on serving your perfect fit customers. There’s still time to enter the contest before next week. Winners will be announced on October 20.