When I speak with prospective customers I’m a little surprised when they indicate that they believe that business has changed dramatically in the past years. What I have come to understand is that many people equate a shift in how we communicate with a change in business.
I’d like to take some time to lay out what I believe is the essence of building a business. Just like constructing anything of value, you must first build a foundation and then you can build upon that foundation.
Let’s examine each of these individually.
I speak to many business owners who are unwilling to actively work on promoting their businesses because theirs is a “Word of Mouth” business. Well, in today’s world, “Word of Mouth” is your companies online reputation. 72% of people value an online opinion from a stranger just as much as they value a recommendation from a personal acquaintance. 97% of people check out the online reviews or reputation of a company before they decide if want to become a customer.
What I gleaned from that is, it doesn’t make any difference how good your products or services are, if people are saying bad things about you online, true or false, your prospective customers will run the other way. Many companies plug thousands of dollars into marketing their business and don’t realize this simple truth. If you have a bad online reputation, then marketing your business is doing more harm than good.
No wonder so few businesses see a real benefit to their online marketing campaigns.
Once a business has established an outstanding Reputation, then it becomes imperative to get the company’s messaging, products and services in front of as many people as possible. So we must first create a Reputation, then we must actively market that Reputation.
When we have built a Reputation and extended a companies Reach, eventually some of the people will choose to become our customers. However, too many companies stop after they have made that initial sale. They take no effort to keep in touch with their customers or to sell them additional goods and services. Unfortunately this conveys to the customer that the business does not care about them and frees them to purchase from competitors.
It is much easier to sell additional goods and services to existing clients than it is to acquire new customers. The growth of our business depends on our efforts to sell more and more frequently to our existing customers.
Of course this means that we must find out what will bring value to our customers and provide them with those goods and services.
If we have done each of the first three R’s well, we have a strong foundation and some of our customers will be willing to step forward and tell the world about how great we are. In other words, they become raving fans.
When we have fans willing to publicly endorse our goods and services, then we have developed a self sustaining entity because the referrals we receive will further enhance our reputation and make it even easier for prospects to decide that we are the company that they wish to work with.
What’s it worth?
Mastering any of the 4 R’s can help grow a business by 25%. Becoming proficient at all of them can exponentially grow a business.