Elevate Your Business Growth Practices to The Web

Web Quality

Business consultants, coaches, and authors are fond of admonishing that what got you here won’t get you there.

Their reasons often stem from their desire to teach you their methods, thereby helping you to break free from your past.

The flaw in this reasoning is your past is precisely what got you here. Why would you want to abandon that?

It should be obvious that digital technologies, the Internet, and especially the social web, are responsible for much of the upheaval in our current business environment. Therefore, the true challenge is simply adapting to all of it.

What got you here will indeed get you there, provided you learn how to move your proven business growth practices to the social web. 

Learning  to translate your business growth to the web is vital, for the simple reason  that the web is now central to ever business – and its customers.

Therefore, start with understanding the core components of your current business model. That good old foundation is still solid. Now let’s find out how to make it more relevant.

The Marketing Driven Business

If you were a successful marketer before the Internet, you can be successful today, regardless of your affinity for technology. The distinction is recognizing that the marketing that works these days is much more than pure advertising or promotion.

The one thing every marketing driven business needs to learn is that today they are teachers first.

Your marketing must have a content marketing component that educates your communities, thereby teaching them how to be better buyers. That is what you promote – the value that precedes or is associated with your products and services.

If smart marketing brought you business to its current level, that should be your focus for moving it to the next one.

Nearly every person and business is using social media in some way. The trick is understanding that it is essential to bring great content to if. Without solid educational content marketing to back up your social media, your business is pretty much dead in the water.

The Sales Driven Business

Are you someone that passionately cares about helping people? If so, then this business environment is perfect for you.

Legendary sales trainer Zig Ziglar was known to say there are no “born salespeople.” What he meant was selling is a skill, and that means it can be learned by anyone that cares enough to help their customers.

One thing sales professionals need to learn today is that social marketing is a new way of selling.

The process of freely giving of your time to help your customers by answering their questions can now be accomplished with online media. Your sales team has been doing this for years; they only need to bring those skills and experience to this digital platform.

Selling ultimately comes down to one-on-one conversations, and bringing those stories online serves to give them greater reach for connecting the dots to new buyers.

The Production Driven Business

For some mainstream businesses their work is their marketing. It speaks for itself. This describes the company that I sold my landscape business to, and is one of the reasons I sold to them. Their production efficiencies married nicely with our sales and marketing strengths.

Can you amplify the quality of your work online? Absolutely. Using Pinterest and Facebook to not only capture the beauty of the finished product, but also the methods and practices for creating it is powerful.

One thing every business should be doing is creating shareable, visual, digital objects that instantly capture the nature of their work. Those visual media objects speak for themselves, just as your work does.

There are more social media channels, tools, and methods than any business (large or small) could possibly use, so don’t even attempt to keep up. Instead, seriously consider the strengths that you already know are responsible for bringing your business this far.

Now consider how to best adapt them to how the trending, social web. For example, Twitter moves fast and is probably not the best channel for buyers to soak up all of the finer details of photos that profile your best projects.

Match the digital medium with the message and the messenger – your business.

How about leaving a comment about how this transition is working for you?

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)

Photo Credit

Social Marketing is Relationship Selling

 The Social Marketing Process ©Jeff Korhan

The Social Marketing Process ©Jeff Korhan

Mainstream small business will more reliably get better results from social media if they view it more as selling than marketing. Why?

Because effective relationship selling is personal, and now marketing is too. As social influences continue to profoundly affect business, just about every business activity is going to require relationship building skills.

Traditional marketing or advertising was something you did – to your communities. Whereas, social marketing in our digital environment is something we do – with our communities. That feels a lot like selling to me.

So, an important question is what aspects of your selling process reliably bring in new business? Then consider how you can make that more personal, and as a result, more relevant to today’s buyer.

Adapt to Today’s Buyer

The common expression, “What got you here won’t get you there” – is mostly untrue.

The truth is: It will. All you have to do is know your strengths and learn to ensure their relevancy for the inevitable changes in the business environment.

When I was launching my residential landscape business in the late 80’s I used a practice to educate my communities. That practice – known today as content marketing – was my primary means for generating leads (with referrals from happy customers being the other source of new business).

My only challenge in adapting what worked well was translating from a print to this digital platform where my future customers are likely to be found.

So, how did your business build relationships with new buyers? Give that some thought, because your growth practices are still valid, especially if you figure out how to adapt them to the new habits of your buyers.

For example, if your business growth is the result of efficient production methods that speak for themselves, then that is a vital selling factor that you should continue to use. Now you can easily amplify that using videos to reach buyers where they are – which today is usually online.

A Valid Process is Your Guidance System

Your sales process is more than a series of steps. It is a guidance system that makes everyone aware of what should be happening, and how to get it back on track if it isn’t.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, most people admire what is reliable. This is why having having a valid process that keeps your you and your sales team focused on the right variables is something that gives your buyers confidence in working with your company.

Learn to use your sales process to differentiate your business. The majority of companies are busy selling their products and services. As a result, it all sounds the same to the buyer, because they are all  focused on what they doproducts and services.

Whereas, the business that focuses on how they do it better is the one that will earn the attention of today’s buyer. And that is accomplished by first selling your process – then your products.

Isn’t this what Zappos does? They are selling the same shoes as every other merchant, but the process for acquiring those shoes is what made their business the market leader.

It’s all about considering how buyers would buy if they could – and then giving them that process.

The bottom line is a valid process builds trust, and that makes it essential for your social marketing AND relationship selling.

Want to learn more about refining your sales process and using it to differentiate your business? It’s covered in detail in Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.

When you learn to build a process for your social marketing that is based on basic relationship selling practices, you will never look back – because you will be forever focused on the two things that matter most:

  1. Your business strengths
  2. How your customers ideally want to buy

What are your thoughts? Please share them in a comment.

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 – Just Released April 2013 (Wiley)