During the day, while I’m cleverly disguised as a business advisor for the Fraser Valley Self Employment Program (FVSEP), I spend a great deal of my time counselling clients to build relationships. I encourage them to do so for many reasons, including this one:
People buy stuff (products, services, expertise) from people they know, like, and trust or from people recommended by people they know, like, and trust.
That’s not to say one should be mercenary in his or her relationship building; in fact, that approach will eventually make people angry. No, what folks should do is simply engage.
And how does one engage? In my opinion, you engage people by first listening to them, and then giving them something they'll value.
What they'll value will depend on the individual. The person you're engaging might find value in your unsolicited nuggets of relevant, useful information. Another person might find value in your generous answers and possible solutions to his or her questions and problems. Someone else might really value your very bad jokes. Certainly some people will find value in tangible items only, but then I'd guess those folks and you weren't fully engaged.
These ideas aren’t new. They weren’t invented by Twitter or any other social media platform. Those of you reading this who are in business know that relationships are, and always have been, one of the golden keys to success.
What Twitter (and its ilk) has done, however, is give us another platform for engagement, which results in additional opportunities to build our networks with people we will grow to know, like, and trust.
Well, a friend of mine IRL, Tina, known as @WorthEveryBite on Twitter, is an extraordinary baker and very well connected to all sorts of foodie types. She introduced me, in a manner of speaking, to Rebecca of Mizuna Culinary (@MizunaCulinary). Rebecca and I follow each other on Twitter and had some conversations regarding wine education.
A few weeks after our wine-ed conversations, Rebecca and Kristine Carrick (@KristineCarrick), a PR pro who was putting together a grand opening shindig for a new South Surrey business (Envision Denture Centre), were working together on the menu for this shindig when Kristine asked Rebecca if she knew of anyone who could come to the grand opening and do more than just pour wine. She wanted someone to recommend B.C. wine, talk about it, take folks through a tasting, and then pair it with the gourmet goodies Rebecca would be serving. She wanted this party to be different. Rebecca said she knew someone, and introduced us by email.
I got the gig. I love Twitter. And my new friends.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen Rake. All rights reserved.