Three gems that could make a difference in your business

If you missed Tod Maffin’s entertaining presentation or happened to be multi-tasking while you were there, here are three gems from the presentation that I think will make a tangible difference to your business.

1. Traditional versus Participatory Marketing
Tod used the analogy that traditional marketing is like being the lead bird in a flock. You send out targeted ads and the customers will follow. Participatory marketing on the other hand is where you are in the swarm and lead by becoming the go-to “bee” in the swarm.

What does this mean?

In a sense, nothing has changed. The objectives of marketing are the same. You want to be known as a trusted source for the buying and selling of real estate property (as an example).

But to build trust in the social media world, you have to deliver content, invite questions and comments, answer questions, and did I mention deliver good content? It’s nothing but work but it is doable once you’ve build a system to create that content.

2. Facebook, YouTube, Craig’s List are additional marketing channels… nothing more
The hype told us that social media would solve all of our marketing problems. Thank goodness we’re over the honeymoon and realize that it’s just another channel that needs the same marketing discipline we’ve come to know and love.

However, with 14 million Canadians on Facebook and many more millions of users on YouTube, you don’t want to ignore social media either!

Consider that many first-time home buyers are from the Net Generation, the generation of kids that never knew life without the internet. For the N-gen, interacting and building relationships online is normal! I’m still stuck with the antiquated attitude that I can only make friends face-to-face before being friends online.

So if you want to reach the N-gen, you may want to develop your “N” channel.

3. Multi-Tasking is Bad for Your Brain

Apparently talking on the phone while doing email actually damages the memory centre of the brain. Add driving to it and you’ve easily upped the hazard levels to your life!

Neurological damage aside, technology has created enough diversions to drive anyone to attention deficit disorder. *Bing* goes your email. *Pop* goes the calendar notification, and *Buzz* goes your phone.

The way I see it is the part of your brain that allows you to sit down, focus and do careful and creative work is a muscle that has to be exercised. If you are constantly feeling distracted or unable to focus, it’s not because you aren’t capable of it. It’s because you haven’t trained it!

Hope these gems give you some practical ideas to work with. Remember that you too can participate now by doing one of the following:

  1. Share this post with your Facebook friends by clicking Share This
  2. Post a comment below about gems you got
  3. Post a question about social media you’d like answered.

All the best for your business ventures.

Chris Hsiung
U Venture

P.S. – Want to know the five mistakes realtors do in social media? Get my notes to the first half of Tod Maffin’s seminar from my blog post here.

Get Interesting by Being Interested

We’ve heard it in marketing before. Get interesting! This says nothing, of course, about what kind of interest you want and how to generate it.

But before going there, why do people take an interest?

  • Because people are interested in the relationship that affirm them, attract them, stimulate them
  • Because people can live vicariously through other people’s stories
  • Because people like to acquire new resources for an advantage from status-seeking to problem-solving
  • Because people like to acquire new information from idle gossip to deep technical knowledge for the same reasons as acquiring resources
  • Because people see something that will help them fix a small problem or reach towards a larger vision
  • Because people are curious about new and shiny things or ideas that are different from the usual
  • Because people are interested in what has them think and feel differently about the world around them

There are many more reasons people take an interest. The point is that to get people interested in what you think is important, you should tap into the range of ways that people pay attention.

But to generate “interest” requires drawing on a deeper source of your own curiosity. It requires that you take an interest in human affairs and furthermore, you take an interest in your own life. Otherwise, we are fooled into thinking that we can create the appearance or trappings of “getting interesting” without ourselves taking a genuine interest.

By being interested in what people need, want, do, hope for, and by being fascinated by your own life, what you strive for, what you hope for… you’re more likely to be interesting to others.

Apologizing is Good for Business

When you make a mistake, admit it and take responsibility for it. It’s what my fiancee and youth probation officer tell her kids, and apparently it’s also what is recommended for businesspeople.

The OfficeIt’s a funny thing that we forget relationships matter in business. In one experiment, productivity increased because various lights were turned on or off at a factory. As it turns out, the productivity increase had nothing to do with the lighting and everything to do with the employee perception that management cared!

There is nothing revolutionary about it. People work better when they think you actually care about them. It’s only in a “management” oriented culture where people are seen as pawns or resources that this fundamental principle is forgotten. The hilarious-because-it’s-true show The Office illustrates what happens when relationships are developed in inauthentic and transactional ways.

When you treat people like human beings and expect the best of them, people will be more productive, more inventive, and more loyal. We all know this. We just forget in the hustle and bustle of getting things done.

The Nuances of Customer Experience

In preparing for the wedding, my fiancee and I have had a chance to talk to a large number of vendors for suits, for flowers, for chair covers (I never thought I’d see the day), for catering and more. It afforded me the chance to see more clearly the patterns of customer service.

suitOne astounding example was when I went shopping for a suit from two stores that had virtually identical stock.

The first salesperson was distinguished, well-dressed, and spoke in that confident way of knowing what was best for me. He picked out a suit for me, and we noticed that the back of the suit caved in. His rationale? It was because I’m a skinny person. Next!

The second salesperson on the other hand, welcomed me warmly, congratulated me about the wedding, asked about who my bride-to-be was, how the wedding planning was going. He was genuinely excited about my engagement and exuded delight at being able to find the right suit for me. And he did (the back of the suit did not cave in). Even after the sale however, he suggested that I hold off on the decision because he wanted to order in a few more new styles in from the head office. Sold!

It is so simple it seems. Be genuinely interested in helping your customers. Especially in an industry where you are selling thousand dollar suits, customers want to trust that you are listening.

The hard part, of course, is that you want to make a sale. Maybe you need the extra money or you want to get rich. Slowly, but subtly, you rationalize that this is the best product for the customer and you don’t need to spend all this extra fluffy time building relationship. For high-end industries, this is likely a losing approach.

So what specifically did the second salesperson do that was so effective?

  • He knew his products and was excited about them.
  • He connected with what was important to me.
  • He listened. I repeat… he actually listened.
  • He demonstrated that meeting my need was more important than making a sale.

Ultimately, you cannot fake the above. It comes back to a fundamental desire to be truly helpful to others. Get this quality down and it’ll be much easier to get the others.