As you seek to grow your business or not-for-profit, are you looking for the latest and greatest technology or tool to help you get ahead of the next guy? I have to admit that’s how I’ve viewed social media—a cost-effective way to outsell the competition. This week, I had the opportunity to hear Chris Brogan, social media guru and author of “Trust Agents”, speak to the Dallas Social Media Club. Essentially, it was a talk on how to use the new tools of social media in old ways. And I mean that in the most positive way. Stay tuned.
Chris began his talk by asking how many audience members were in customer service. Trick question. Apparently the right answer is we are ALL in customer service. By the time he asked how many were in sales, we had caught on and all claimed to be in sales.
He encouraged us to view our business roles as farmers, and not as factory workers. We need to focus on preparing the soil and watering and nurturing the crop. A farmer has patience and doesn’t expect an immediate reward. In contrast, a factory worker focuses on throughput, speed and efficiency. In a factory, it’s just a transaction, on a farm, it’s a relationship.
We were exhorted to “Grow Bigger Ears,” listen more to others, and to focus on relationships. Chris described the recipe for success as being 2 parts helping others, 2 parts connecting with others, and 1 part selling. And new tools, like FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, are great for connecting with others. A hint from Chris: stop networking in just your own vertical area or geography. If the economy hits a speed bump, your whole network loses their jobs at the same time! Build some diversity by networking in different fields and cities/states.
We should be using these new social media tools to affirm others. Recommend their business on Twitter, respond to their requests for information or introductions in LinkedIn, comment on their blogs. Come to think of it, it sounds a lot like the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated, and don’t constantly try to sell something to them. So it’s using new tools in old ways, to support old-fashioned values.
Thank you to Mike Merrill, Cynthia Smoot and the Dallas Social Media Club #smcdallas for hosting this event and for selecting Instant Imprints as the T-shirt supplier, and to sponsors Trip Case, Nomee, Southwest Air, Fairmont Dallas, and Firehost.