How Live Events Enhance Social Networking and Marketing

Jeff Korhan and Joe Pulizzi

Jeff Korhan and Joe Pulizzi reconnect at the Green Industry Conference shortly after Content Marketing World

In the days before digital, if you wanted to network you had to get out of the office. That’s where we developed relationships and consummated deals.Telephones were only used to supplement those live interactions.

Live events are where you experience firsthand the energy and enthusiasm of other like-minded people who share your interests and business objectives.

A few years ago it was predicted that webinars and other digital forms of online training would eventually replace live events, thereby putting professional speakers like me out of business as we know it.

That is not what is happening, and this trend – the resurgence in live events – is also relevant to your business networking and social media marketing.

The Live Version is Always Better

One of the frustrations with social networking is that you can invest a great deal of time and yield few results. Thus, it becomes increasingly tiresome and is ultimately abandoned in favor of more urgent business matters.

The solution is literally getting out of the office to meet the people that you are connected with online, and make new connections that you can then bring to your social networks. When you integrate the two, you enhance the effectiveness of both.

Make it a habit to periodically attend live events such as expos, conferences, and community benefits. In addition to building more meaningful relationships, you will acquire abundant material for invigorating your content marketing.

Put Serendipity to Work

Your social networks want to hear about your life just as much as your business. So, if it’s not all that exciting you may want to get out of the office to increase the number of planned and serendipitous interactions, what online retailer Zappos refers to as “collisions between employees.”

This is actually an intentional practice that online retailer Zappos uses, and one reason why they moved their offices from suburban Henderson, NV to the old Las Vegas City Hall.

CEO Tony Hsieh has a vision of transforming downtown Las Vegas to create “The most community-focused large city in the world, in the place where you least expect to see it.” In addition to their own facilities, Zappos is funding start-ups to join their intimate community ecosystem.

You can read more about the social business model in Built-In Social. It’s a model that closely resembles the concept of a small town or local community where (almost) everyone knows your name.

How This Works

The reason for the resurgence in live events is somewhat surprising. Now that we are more connected than ever due to social media, people want to meet those connections to further develop their relationships with them.

After meeting people live it adds a richness to your relationships online, while also leading to new alliances, including relationships with new clients.

So, if you are not getting results from your social media marketing, I encourage you to find more ways to make it come alive. The power of targeted events is that you can benefit from the energy of like-minded people that share your interests and business objectives.

I’m still mining ideas that I gained from attending Content Marketing World a couple months ago. Additionally, I developed new relationships and opened up some cool new opportunities, one of which is speaking at the upcoming Social Media Marketing World.

2013 was the first year for this event and it attracted over 1,000 marketers and business owners from around the world. The expectation is there will be will be over 2,000 attendees in San Diego for the 2014 event in March.

Consider joining us in sunny San Diego. I’d like to get to know and your business.

Click on this link or the image above to learn more about this live event. Incidentally, there is a $370 discount available now that expires this Friday.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)

Collaborative Sales Practices that Engage Buyers

Collaborative Sales

Selling directly to buyers is a standard business practice that is being transformed into a more collaborative sales process.

Progressive businesses are now working together with customers to create shared experiences by co-creating solutions with buyers to give them what is often greater or more exciting than they would have imagined.

Buyers do not always know the extent of your business capabilities, just as your business may not fully understand their aspirations. Therefore, bringing the two together can often create extraordinary results.

Thus, in addition to ensuring the future relevancy of your business, learning to build collaboration into your sales, marketing, and customer service processes will easily differentiate your business, even in crowded markets.

Here are three customer collaboration practices to consider.

#1 – Take Control and Share It

Buyers want to work with a business that is control, which is one of the primary objectives of your sales process.

Your process gives them confidence that you will take them where they want to go, and if it is collaborative, they can then share that control. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

While most people will not admit it, they want to follow leaders. That’s why they hired you.

They are relying on your expertise and experience.

If at some point during the process they want you to completely take over, which is a signal you have earned their trust, they can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

#2 – Encourage Actions That Earn Trust

When anyone takes action there is risk. Therefore, when you design a process that has your buyers taking actions that reliably lead to favorable outcomes, you instantly earn their trust.

When your buyers are engaged in activities, you have their full attention. When those actions lead to desired outcomes, you progressively earn their trust.

Earned trust is the one quality that consistently leads to more sales. More importantly, trust builds relationships wit customers that become ambassadors of your business brand.

#3 – Nurture Relationships and Brand Advocates

When you help people solve problems and achieve their dreams, they feel good about their relationship with your business and tell their friends about it.

Traditional marketing sought to earn customer satisfaction and loyalty after the sale.

Collaborative marketing and selling seeks to engage the buyer at an emotional level throughout the entire process, such that they become advocates that share the entire experience with their friends and family.

Give them more than they have expected or imagined.

Get them so excited about working with you that they are telling their friends while it is all happening, and hopefully long after that.

In other words, design your sales and marketing to help your buyer feel what they want to feel.

Look for more on that in a future article.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)