Social Business: Managing Relationships to Build Personal and Business Brands

This Old New Business Podcast with Jeff Korhan

This is Episode 6 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

Would you like to learn how to better network to achieve your personal and professional objectives? Then listen in on my conversation with Jon Ferrara.

Jon openly admits he loves to “get on his soapbox” and teach what he has learned about relationship management to help others achieve greatness.

One of the challenges for everyone these days is we have not just one, but multiple digital soapboxes – channels for connecting, having conversations, and sometimes putting together mutually beneficial business deals.

Nevertheless, it’s not every day that you have the opportunity to learn firsthand from one of the pioneers of an industry. That’s why I’m sure you’ll enjoy this high energy conversation, and also get a lot of value from it too.

Our Featured Guest: Jon Ferrara

John Ferrara has over 20 years of experience in customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation (SFA). An entrepreneur at heart, Jon founded Goldmine in 1989 with a college friend, which he turned into a highly successful venture that he eventually sold to FrontRange. In 2009 he founded Nimble Inc, which produces the popular Nimble Social CRM.

Business is Personal Relationships

Like many of us, Jon’s first experience with business relationship management was with bits of information on little pieces of paper.

Social Business: Managing Personal and Business Brands However, having a background in computer science, he decided to quit his job and develop a digital solution that would help businesses bring more value to their network of relationships.

After creating Goldmine, Jon had to literally build what we now know as the CRM market, also take a look at Salesforce CRM alternatives. Not surprisingly, he took advantage of relationships with channel partners that offered accounting and other software solutions, thereby helping them offer more value to their customers.

Business, and especially selling, has always been about personal relationships. As our world becomes more digital, we have to remember that, and be mindful of using technology to nurture relationships on a human level.

Managing Conversations Across Multiple Channels

After selling Goldmine, social media began to explode across multiple channels. Now the challenge is not so much making connections, but intelligently managing the opportunities they present.

In the early days of social media we were all consumed with managing our thousands of fragmented followers across multiple channels. It wasn’t long before we realized we had regressed to the days of collecting bits of information on scraps of paper. 

In this interview Jon and I discuss at length his latest venture, Nimble CRM. Nimble is a platform that is designed to smartly use the intelligence that is buried within our networks to move appropriate connections to conversations, thereby unlocking the potential business opportunities associated with them.

Personal Brands Build Business Brands

Businesses and brands are beginning to wake up to the reality that the business brand is a direct result of the personal brands associated with it, namely customers, staff, and so many other influencers.

This is a important shift that you will be hearing more about in future episodes. To be honest, it’s scary for businesses to realize they do not have complete control over their brand.

Business does come down to personal relationships. Using tools like Nimble, you can quickly learn a lot about people by walking in their digital shoes. What happens after that determines the quality of your personal brand and what you can offer to others.

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Jon’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Become a trusted advisor to your prospects and customers by inspiring and educating them about how they can improve and grow their business. Teach people to fish and they will figure out that you sell fishing poles.

His Favorite Productivity Tip – Connect to people in person to sort out business issues and nurture relationships. Go beyond the surface digital interactions we’ve become so used to settling for and you will see the extra benefit it brings.

A Quote that has Inspired Jon’s Success – “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar

Key Take-Aways

  • Business has always been about personal relationships. Now it’s a digital experience that still needs to be a human experience.
  • Nimble listens to digital signals and pulls opportunities out of the stream.
  • Everyone leaves a digital footprint that speaks to their their needs and desires.
  • Learn more about Nimble Social CRM at and on Twitter at @nimble
  • The best way to reach Jon is on Twitter at @jon_ferrara

How to subscribe to This Old New Business podcast

Click here to subscribe via iTunes.
You can also subscribe via Stitcher.

Help us Spread the Word

Please let your Twitter followers know about this podcast. One click on this ready-made tweet will make that super easy.

If you enjoyed this episode of This Old New Marketing podcast, please head over to iTunes to leave a rating, write a review, or subscribe.   If you use Stitcher, click here to leave a rating, write a review, and subscribe.

How is your business adapting its practices to an environment where buyers have new expectations of their relationship with you?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

How Your Business Can Help Its Ideal Customers

Do you understand the primary problems that challenge your ideal customers?

If your business is intensely focused on relationships, then it is continually learning about the most relevant problems for which it can be the solution.

To attract new customers, they must immediately know your business understands their problems, and can offer relevant solutions for them.

Want to help your customers? Keep a list of their top problems posted in your office. Tweet this

While this seems simple enough, its importance cannot be underestimated. Helping is a vital aspect of your marketing and sales process, and that starts with being intensely aware of the various pain points.

Innovate Beyond Solutions Looking for Customers

Traditional marketers offered solutions in the form of standardized products and services

This one-size-fits-all approach treats every customer as being the same. Many small businesses fall in love with their solutions, serving them up to every new customer, regardless of the problem.

They effectively become a hammer looking for a nail. If they happen to find a screw instead, they attempt to hammer it too!

A smarter approach is to first commit resources to building a loyal tribe. Then design solutions that not only solve primary problems, but related secondary problems too.

For example, a primary problem may be learning how to lose weight. The secondary problems could be learning how to eat well, exercising properly, and reframing one’s self-image as a healthy individual, also using supplements, and this is my recommended cissus brand.

Thus, there can be multiple secondary solutions to solving the primary problem, with some being more important than others for respective customers.

Apple Computer does this well. Their retail stores offer skilled guidance, service, and training for selected computing devices in a range of sizes, styles, and capabilities. The result is solutions can be designed for customers that suit their specific budgets and needs.

How can your business innovate its solutions to be more relevant to the needs of its customers?

Tell Stories that Validate Your Capabilities

The surest way to engage buyers with your collaborative selling process is to share stories that authenticate your experience and expertise. This gives prospective buyers confidence.

Research shows stories are highly effective for activating the human brain, thereby making stories memorable content that tends to be shared with friends and influencers

As a practical matter, learning how to tell better stories allows prospective buyers to see their circumstances within the stories your business shares. They can then relate to the aspirations and challenges of the customers your business has successfully served.

Your social media is ideally suited to sharing stories. However, they should be first captured on some form of owned media. Publishing on your website or blog establishes the copyrights of your original stories.

Now your stories can shared from that central source for years to come to communicate your business capabilities in a meaningful way.

Ask Good Questions

Savvy buyers can spot inexperience within seconds. They expect your staff to know as much or more than they do, and that assessment is often the result of the first few questions your business asks.

A traditional approach for retailers is asking the prospective buyer how the representative can help them. These days, expectations are different. The business is expected to know how it can help, and readily communicate that, often by asking good questions.

This is one reason why your business needs to consume media to stay on top of recent developments in your industry. It is also why it should be blogging to explore them further.

What is new is often on the minds of your customers, so they will expect your business to be able to offer a relevant perspective to measure against theirs. Customers don’t expect a business to always be the answer to their problems, but they do expect it to care enough to try.

Next Actions

#1 – List the primary problems that challenge your ideal customers.

#2 – Then list the secondary problems that should be addressed to solve the primary problem.

This is where your business is likely to find new ways for helping its customers, and quite possibly new sources of revenue too!

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Celebrating the Small Business Community

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday. It’s a day that may not necessarily be on the radar of of many consumers, but it is one that is especially important for local small businesses. Small Business Saturday is an initiative that was created to bring greater awareness to the small businesses that form the foundation of the […]

Read the full article

Build Confidence and Trust with Sales and Marketing Debriefs

When I began my career as an entry level salesperson for a major oil company I was required to debrief every single sales call. Back then I dictated everything into a recording device. It was then transcribed and circulated to the sales and management team. The debrief is a skill that surprisingly few people practice.  The […]

Read the full article

Collaborative Sales Practices that Engage Buyers

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 […]

Read the full article

Nimble Social CRM Brings Big Data to Small Business

Lack of time is the most common reason small businesses give for not regularly using social media? While there are many tools that can make your social media engagement easier, many of them only drag you further down into the rabbit hole we all know as the social media time suck. There is nothing wrong with […]

Read the full article