Posted tagged ‘relationship capital’

Let me hear your four seconds!

September 2, 2009

How many times have you answered the phone and some telemarketer spends the first 30 seconds not taking a breath or allowing you to get a word in edgewise? Chances are, more often than not.

Experts say that we, the business professionals of the world, have a total of four–count ’em–four seconds to entice someone into doing business with you or buying whatever product you happen to be hawking.

Did you get that? You have to say something in the first four seconds of your conversation which will make someone decide if they are going to work with you. If you haven’t got them in four seconds, it’s time to move on to someone else.

I know I need to work on my pitch, and I’m having a hard time finding others who really know how to effectively pitch to prospects. If you’ve got a good pitch, let me hear it. If your pitch needs a little work, let me hear that, too, and we can offer hints or ways to improve.

Remember, YOU only have FOUR free seconds before someone tunes you out and starts playing computer games, so make ’em good.

How ’bout it?

Accountability: Becoming the person you want to become

May 7, 2009

AccountabilityIn starting this recent chapter of my blog, I decided to create some sort of accountability which would hopefully “encourage” me to write on a more regular basis. Each week, I’m making a (seemingly) feasible goal of action.

This week, I have aspired to make contact with people in the mainstream (traditional) media, since I’m working to become the next generation of “new” media. So far this week, I have endeavored to for connections with 15 people from Facebook who work for CBS. Several have responded, but the rest have either ignored my friend request or haven’t taken action. Should I move on with others, or should I keep asking those who haven’t replied?

My second goal from my last post was to become more accountable by making more frequent blog posts. That’s an easy one. By doing just this, I’ve taken action to make it happen.

My third goal is to use my time more wisely: I accomplished this goal by implementing the use of a timer when using online aps on Facebook.

A friend sent me this Youtube video which I found sadly true and a bit amusing:

After watching it, I started making a list of my goals for next week:

  1. I need to have a business plan, something to fall back on when I get into a funk. I have never written a business plan, but I understand that by writing others’ business plans, it can be very lucrative, but first I want to have one of my own. Any advice from those who are more seasoned in business than I would be much appreciated.
  2. I intend to continue making connections in the traditional media.
  3. I will begin/continue trying to sell my services and those of others via social networks and the Relationship Economy.

How ’bout it?

The Marketing Rules are (Still) Changing

March 6, 2009

tre-coverAs the world has witnessed the collapse of billion dollar companies such as AIG and Merryl Lynch, some of us stood by and were only able to watch in horror as if we were watching the Titanic sinking after hitting the iceberg. “It can never sink. It’s just too big,” they said. One can almost hear the naysayers scoffing at anyone who predicted such a catastrophic failure as what happened on Wall Street. “No, the banks can never fail. The government won’t let that happen.”

Look where it [our confidence] got us. Over the past two or three years, we have taken special notice to some blogs, names and phrases, such as, “Relationship Capital.”

The Relationship Economy is a system in which we are worth who we know and what we know. For example, I personally have just over 2,400 so-called “friends” on the online social network known as Facebook. A year ago, I had exactly 67 “friends” on that same network. Realizing that the shift from a goods-based/knowledge-based economy to a relationship-based economy, I started adding “friends” like crazy. Today, with my 2,400 + “friends,” I am more valuable than I was on March 5, 2008.

I’ve made connections to people all over the world, most of whom I will never meet or even speak to on the phone. And while I would say many will prove to be fruitless, I have made some really good connections to people in some very high places with companies such as Dell, IBM, Apple, HP, and, my favorite, Comcast.

The marketing has changed in the past six months. People are coming to the realization that the social networks are becoming more vital to businesses rather than just a fad. People are watching television online, listening to the radio online, getting their news online, and companies are capitalizing on the world’s ability to connect online.

So what’s my point?

With people spending so much time online and our ability to remain connected to the world, via Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and RSS feeds, the marketing has changed locations and forums, but the message is still the same: “LOOK AT HOW GREAT MY PRODUCT IS!”

That’s where the marketing guys come up short. Rather than talking to us, they need to be talking with us. Finding out what it is we need. What we want a product to give us, etc.

In The Cluetrain Manifesto, written by Doc Searls et. al., says that marketes are conversations. It does little to aid your bottom-line if you are speaking in a language none of your customers can understand. Therefore, the relationship isn’t there.

Now, some companies have adapted their marketing to The Relationship Economy, but the big-boys–the banks, the insurance companies, etc.– have not. That’s why they collapsed in ’08.

Companies have forgotten that they aren’t all about million dollar homes and large offices with gold trash cans. When a person is made to feel important, that is when you will develop consumer pride and brand loyalty. But when a service call is not kept, the call is dropped, or the company doesn’t seem to care about YOU, the consumer, that is when the walls they have built all around them start to crumble.

The move toward the relationship economy is coming, and I think it may catch many big companies unaware.

How ’bout it?

How Do You Generate Relationship Capital Online?

January 9, 2008

relationshipeconomy-mid.jpgThe post by social network strategist Jay Deragon makes an excellent point. Just because one has an account on one or even several online social networks, it doesn’t mean that person has a large amount of Relationship Capital.

Simply building or participating in “social networks” so you can connect with people is a waste of time and money. On the other hand if you have something that is relevant to the hearts and minds of the people you want to relate to then, and only then, will you understand the power of the social web. The best approach to leveraging the social web is to understand the systemic nature of peoples interest, desires and needs: a relationship.

 What people want from their connections is conversations! Not just about the weather, the NASDAQ, or their latest golf scores. They want to establish a relationship with the company or others on the networking site.

Make Frequent Posts:

The easiest way to begin an online relationship – be it personal, professional or any other – is to start making posts on the social networking site. When people are only contacted by someone when there is something to be sold or when the person needs something, that person will soon develop the reputation of a “user.” Rather than just trying to sell someone a product, those people should establish a relationship with which all parties involved feel as though the relationship is beneficial, or at least, mutual.

When someone tries to make his/her presence known on social networks only when he/she can get something (time or money) from someone else, that person will soon be found not to be genuine. The problem, here, is that there are a plethora of people online who solely want to “take” from their connections. So how does one know if the other person is really genuine?

Just like with dating, it takes time. Getting to know the person on the other end of the connection requires patience and time. Those who chronically “take” from a relationship without giving anything in return are usually too impatient to establish and maintain a relationship with anyone who doesn’t simply turn over the bank account.

Relationships can be built and maintained by frequent posts and a great deal of activity. Let’s rephrase that; Relationships can be built and maintained by frequent posts of content – not just “Hi. How ya doing?” Posting requires thought, organization, and time. Those who provide insightful posts with excellent content are typically genuine.

 How ’bout it?

Leveraging the Social Web

January 9, 2008

relationshipeconomy-mid.jpgAs co-owner of Link to Nashville, a geographically-centered online social networking platform for the business-minded of Middle-Tennessee (and beyond!), I am constantly seeking to find new members to join the site – prospecting, if you will.

“Why do you want me to join?” is usually the first question I must answer. “What does what I do help you with Link to Nashville?” They apparently don’t “get it.” We, at Link to Nashville, want to improve our membership numbers, sure, but more than that, we want to help people get in on the impending Relationship Economy.

Have you ever heard the saying, “When it rains, it pours?” Well, that’s just it – we know it’s coming, we just want it to get here faster. In the first episode of Season 1 of the Sopranos, Tony gives voice to what we already know when he says, “It’s best to be in something (a business) from the ground up.”

That’s what we want for people. We want them to be involved in Link to Nashville (or virtually any online social network) from the ground up; We want them to get the experience and learn about The Relationship Economy before it’s “game time.”

How to I learn about The Relationship Economy?

The key to maintaining a solid foundation in The Relationship Economy is making frequent contributions and taking action online. Contributions and posts don’t have to be earth-shattering, but at the same time, they must have good content. Anyone who frequents MySpace has seen that the majority of the posts or “wall-comments” are lacking content. “Hi! (usually with a smiley-face or something like it) Just wanted to say ‘wazzup?'”

The younger generation doesn’t seem to get that having a plethora of “friends,” or connections doesn’t win any popularity contests. Having friends is great, but only if they provide you with something — they must be relationship capital, not an expense.

“Relationship Capital”  can be defined as any connection who provides you with something of value. “Something of value” can be in the form of actual business, leads to others who might be able to use your goods or services, or the highest “value” – a feeling that you are helping someone because you can, a.k.a. self-worth, feeling of importance, sense of purpose, whatever. So Relationship capital doesn’t always help you line your pockets with hundred-dollar bills, but if you think about it, relationship capital always provides you with SOMETHING.

No matter how much activity you have on your own personal profile, you won’t begin to leverage the social web unless you make sure your posts have good content. More later…

How ’bout it?

The Communications Factors Create a ROI

September 29, 2007

built4profit.jpg

Why do so many adults – not just the young – spend so much time on social networks? What’s their return on investment for all the time they “waste” on social networks? Networking Strategist Jay Deragon examines this question in his blog:

A rationale and strategic purpose for individuals is one defined around a return on their investment in time spent using social networks for individual purposes.”One might justify a return on time spent with claims of making new friends, enjoying the exchanges of ideas, thoughts, experiences etc.”

So what is it that drawing more and more adults to the online social networking scene? “They must be getting a greater ROI for their time than I do,” you say to yourself. But how?

These adults, some but not all of them, have joined the creators of the Relationship Economy in realizing the value of establishing and maintaining relationships with others online. The tradional return on investment schematics typically involve business capital, or equipment, and the value generated by its use.

Take a lawn service. Say I shell out $4,000 for the latest brand of the greatest lawnmower. Assuming I have the ability to use the mower, and I have plenty of clients, there will be a good return on investment.

The communications factors also enable a return on investment. In the past, there hasn’t been a means for sharing ideas and thoughts – thereby providing me with value. With the technologies of today and tomorrow, we are better-able to recieve value through the social networking scene. We are now faced with the question of defining “value” in our lives. Having freedom is priceless; so is having a sense of purpose. Granted, the ultimate “value” will be when others accept what we call “currency” for goods and services. When the value shif changes, will you be ready?

How ’bout it?