A few disclaimers before I start:
- Building trust takes a lot of time. This trust does not usually result in sales.
- Be sincere in your approach in creating trust with others. Your main intentions should in fact be to create trust and a solid relationship. Your main intention should NOT be to make lots of sales in the future.
- Once trust is established with someone, do NOT abuse it.
- Trust is a hard thing to gain and one of the easiest things to lose. Use it wisely.
With that being said, let’s face it, we are bombarded by marketing messages all day long. We can’t watch tv, go on the computer, listen to the radio, drive around town, or walk into a store without something or someone trying to entice us to buy whatever they’re selling.
As a micro business owner, you do not have the funds to pump millions and millions of whatever currency you use in your country, (I’m starting to have a massive international following which I find incredibly awesome,) nor do we want to spend a lot of our budget on something that one, may or may not result in an increase in sales, and two, that we can’t track if it actually works or not.
There’s also a much more efficient, much less expensive, and much more fulfilling way to create awareness for your brand:
Actually getting to know people and creating a friendship with them that may or may not turn into a sale.
You’re probably scratching your head now and wondering, “why in the world would I do that? It’s a lot easier to pay someone to create ads and put them all over.”
Well that would be easier, but it would be a waste of money.
I’m young but I take an “old-school approach” to business. I believe in:
- Calling someone by their first name
- Knowing at least a little about their lives; where they live, their occupation, etc
- Treating them as people instead of a transaction number
- Being genuinely interested in their well-being
- Making others feel appreciated
- Hand-written thank you letters
You’ve probably heard of the over-used phrase of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” There is some truth behind that.
If you genuinely do these things to create friendships, an incredibly awesome, natural by-product is an increase in sales. The best part is that it all happens organically, no one feels pressured, and in a couple of instances, people just buy something from you because they like you. Sure, they may like, want, or need whatever you’re selling but your relationship with them will help sway them into a purchase.
By taking this “old-school” approach, I can call some incredible people around the world friends. I know a blacksmith in England; motorcycle shops in Italy, England, Australia; and entrepreneurs in Costa Rica and Indonesia. I’ve been invited to a bbq in Australia and to hang out with former professional motorcycle racers in Thailand. I’ve also been offered a place to stay in northern California if I’m ever in the area. I don’t mean to brag but I just want to show you the power of creating relationships.
Even though these relationships may not ever result in sales, they can result in a thing that you can’t put a price on; leverage. If you ever need help, you can go to your new friends and ask them to do a favor for you, and they are highly likely to do so because that’s just what friends do.
Your friends can turn into your best advertising. They will more than likely at some point in time tell their friends and their followers on their social networks about how awesome you and your business are. In most instances, you don’t even have to ask them to do this. Those kinds of connections are incredibly powerful because they personally know their friends where you may not. That message to their friends is an infinite amount more powerful than if you were to talk to their friends that you don’t have a previous rapport with.
These new friends will also serve many other purposes; they can be your study group, they can offer you productive feedback, they can be used as testimonials, and they can be your greatest support system. These relationships go deeper than business and money. Because you have a genuine interest in their well-being, they have the same for you.
Like any great relationship, both parties involved need to put in an effort. While your friends help you with feedback and advertising, you must do the same. The more you help, the more they help and your friendships can take both parties into new places that both of you never thought you would have been.