Relationship Selling is a Commitment Process

Are you familiar with the negotiating practice of asking for a commitment for a commitment.

It’s an important one for building and sustaining relationships, and that makes it essential for successful sales professionals and online marketers

Selling is A Series of Mini-Commitments

Especially in regards to online marketing, there is often the unrealistic expectation of consummating a sales transaction without first developing a relationship with the prospective buyer.

Relationship selling is much like a courtship. There are intentional actions taken that are designed to build familiarity and mutual trust. If all goes well, each party agrees to make the big commitment.

Thus, what ultimately results in a sale is a series of actions or mini-commitments by people that will include some of the following.

Scanning your social media or blog headlines

  • Reading your article, blog post, or social media message
  • Clicking on your links to discover more
  • Sharing your content
  • Liking your Facebook page
  • Commenting on your blog
  • Making an inquiry with your business
  • Calling you on the phone
  • Showing up at your place of business

These commitments are lead generation tactics, and most of them can be tracked. This means they can be measured to determine their effectiveness, so that resources can be allocated accordingly.

Every Commitment Merits a Response

When your community makes a commitment to your business, they expect the same in return. Doing that earns you the next level of commitment, and the next, and so on.

Your challenge is designing a process that keeps all of that going until you have solidified a relationship that results in a sale, or at least a shot at their business when budgets or timing are more appropriate.

This is a continuous process of nurturing relationships using a combination of traditional and digtial methods, including social media, newsletters, email, phone calls, etc.

The key is to understand that every commitment of attention from buyers that your business receives merits one in return. Your commitment for a commitment both acknowledges and honors those that engage with your business.

Commit To Your Community with Social Media

What’s the most valuable commitment? It’s time. Fortunately, your business can now leverage the various forms of digital media to help.

Here’s a bold statement that happens to be true:

Not using social media to help your community is failing to commit to them. Tweet this

Businesses that ignore social media and content marketing are indirectly saying they are not interested in doing the necessary work to help their buyers.

Relying exclusively on one-to-one selling to help your communities is not only expensive, it forces the majority that use the Internet to get answers to go elsewhere, and that is rightfully where they will likely make their next purchase.

Sales and marketing has changed.

It’s time to adapt to a digital world. Tweet this

Forget about selling as you know it. Instead think in terms of creating media that is interesting and helpful.

Make a commitment to doing that well and your business will easily convert the interest and engagement that follows into profitable outcomes.

Make a Commitment to Your Success

If your business wants help building and refining it’s sales process, adapting to the influences of social media, and better responding to informed buyers, then consider my full-day workshop.

During 2014 I will be be offering my LIVE, hands-on, Relationship Selling in the Trust Economy workshop on a limited basis.

This is personal training with me, Jeff Korhan, at your place of BUSINESS OR ASSOCIATION MEETING. It’s based on my 30+ years in the selling profession as an entrepreneur and corporate executive.

Contact me to set up a 15 minute call to learn if this trademarked program is a good fit for your organization.

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+.

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Blog or Website: Why You Need Both

Do you track your content to better understand what drives the most traffic to your website

If your site is built on the popular WordPress platform, this information is readily available using a number of plugins.

It has been a while since I wrote Blog or Website: The Real Difference. Yet, that article still brings in considerable traffic years later. This tells me it’s a topic that should be addressed further.

It turns out there is one important reason for doing so.

What Has Changed

The influence of mobile in particular is dramatically influencing how websites and blogs are used, and therefore, how they can be designed to achieve maximum conversion. At, you can hire them to design your website to make it like one of the best.

According to Pew Internet, more than 50% of all buying decisions are based upon online information. For local businesses whose sites are frequently accessed from mobile devices, that figure is even higher.

The end game for web marketing is converting traffic into profitable business outcomes. This is predominantly the role of your website. No surprises there.

When you consider the many ways for driving traffic to your website, including blogs, social media, and all forms of advertising, it’s important to understand that some convert better than others.

The Blog is Now a Mobile Show

Consumers search the web for information, answers to questions, and solutions to problems. This is the research they conduct BEFORE searching for companies.

The fact is it’s unlikely buyers will find your website if they have never heard of your business. One way to affect that is with online advertising. However, advertising tactics have little stickiness compared to a blog that educates and informs, and concurrently introduces the business that created that content.

Think of your blog not as commentary, but practical tips, advice, or step-by-step instructions for helping your community do more of what they want to do. This keeps your blog focused on helping, as opposed to selling.

When I wrote Blog or Website I suggested thinking of your blog as a digital magazine. That description is still relevant; however, now in addition to print content, audio and visual media are also in demand. Why? Smartphones.

Millions of smartphones are activated worldwide everyday, making them the go-to device for consuming content. As a result, audio podcast shows are becoming the new talk radio, giving listeners specific information with far fewer commercials, and all of it for FREE.

Teaching is the new selling, and that can be accomplished with a blog that hosts instructional audio, videos, Slideshare presentations, and more. There is no limit to what you can do with your blog to both drive traffic AND encourage conversions.

The Website is a Digital Store

A website should be designed to convert interest into a sale.

If a visitor to your website cannot immediately understand what your store sells and how it can help them, then they may be lost within seconds to another business. So, it is important to use relevant keywords and plain language that practically jumps off the page.

This is where things get tricky, because not everyone is ready to buy just yet.

Assume you get good traffic but it is not converting. This may suggest you need some educational content on the home page. That page is valuable real estate, so make it high value, such as a short, focused video.

You Need Both

The new website is one that sells, while also developing relationships and trust. This is why your business needs an interactive blog to support your website.

That’s the reality of the world we live in. Just as you cannot expect to proceed to marriage after the first date, so it is with eCommerce.

You have to sell, and selling these days is social marketing. It’s a process of educating first with content, building trust with social engagement, and providing a mechanism for the buyer to buy when they are ready.

Years ago blogs were journals, and often stand-alone sites. These days blogs are archived sources of information on the secondary navigation of the primary website. They serve up media that drives traffic to the website and gets shared on the social networks.

Taken to a higher level, your content can be refined into higher value media such as eBooks, tutorials, or more. Keep in mind that media not only informs and educates, it sometimes entertains.

In fact, some are suggesting The Lego Movie now in theaters may be one of the most successful examples of content marketing (on a large scale) to date. Your business can do the same by creatively combining your blog with your website.

Thus, to succeed with online marketing nowadays you have to think of your business as a media company. Your business listens and consistently responds with media that sets up conditions for the purchase of your products and services.

Now over to you. How are you using your business blog?

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+

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