Building a relationship with your audience
Hello my name is Nicci. I’m a business owner. I help other business owners achieve growth through operational excellence. Now you know me. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and love connecting with other entrepreneurs from around the world to share our stories of success and, sometimes failure. Maybe we can support each other and grow together. Now you like me… I hope! But let’s talk about trust. Bit more complicated, isn’t it?
Building relationships with people can be tough, both personally and professionally. But this isn’t about personal relationships. This is about professional relationships and creating a connection with your audience or target market. (In my case that might be you.) It’s a crucial part of building and maintaining a business. Think about creating these connections in three phases: know, like and, finally, trust.
We get to know people in various ways. We meet them at events or conferences. We actively network through various groups or on social media platforms. We reach out through different sales tactics. We produce content that will appeal to them. The list is endless. This is how people get know us.
Who do we want them to get to know? We want them to get to know a respected, credible businessperson (remember we’re talking business here not personal). Someone who can help solve their problem or add value to their lives.
But getting to know people – or getting them to know you – is just that. I know who you are. Nothing more. To create a genuine connection, I need you to like me.
How do you build “like”? How can you create a strong connection with someone who is a complete stranger? Here are some of my thoughts:
- An open mind
Approach people and situations with an open but discerning mind. Strive to expand your views and challenge yourself. Connect with people you wouldn’t normally connect with. But understand that time is precious, so remain discerning. Especially when it comes to creating business connections.
Without curiosity there can be no empathy. Empathy is one of the main drivers of creating connection. How can you understand people if you don’t get curious about them? Ask questions and be genuinely interested in their answers. And remember introverts are often better at this than extroverts. They tend to ask more and talk less. So, there’s no excuse. Extroverts – learn something!
This has been identified as one to greatest traits a leader can have. And the best way to connect with someone. The ability to put yourself in their situation and understand the problems they face. The trick with empathy is that is must be real. It’s one of things you simply can’t fake it till you make it. But if you care about people and really want to help them (isn’t that why you started a business in the first place?) this shouldn’t be too difficult.
This is the hardest one of all. It takes the longest to build and can be wiped out in an instant. First you need to get to a point of trust. Once you have this the most important thing you can do is keep it. Don’t blow it!
I often see trust as being a debit and credit system. What we have or haven’t done in past counts for or against us in the present. The best way to top up your credits is by delivering on your promise and being consistent. Consistency is hard! (I’ve written about this before you can read that article here.) Doing what you say you will, when you say you will…. ALL THE TIME!
Firstly, we need to understand what our promise to our clients or audience is. Does this deliver value to them? Does it resonate with them? If you’re comfortable you have this right, please move along. If not do some work on this before you continue.
Tried and trusted – with a twist!
Being the operations nerd that I am, I have discovered the best way to build and maintain trust is through a good ol’ process. To achieve this, I dug into my trusted toolkit and discovered two frameworks I had never considered to achieve this.
Framework one – the sales funnel
This one was pretty obvious. Sales funnels are designed to get us thinking about how we create awareness for our businesses. Where do people search for the kind of information we can provide? What does the initial contact look like? Etc etc. What I have never considered was how to use this to drive the type of content I produce and where that should be published. Maybe you’re smarter than me but when I looked at this from a getting to know me/getting to like me perspective it changed my whole view of how this system could benefit me. Try it. Let me know how it works for you.
If you need a sales funnel template here’s one. I like this one because it gives action points, goals and deadlines.
Framework two – customer journey mapping
This one was less obvious for me (but as I said maybe you’re smarter). This particular customer journey map works hand-in-hand with the sales funnel (you can access a template here).
I found this exercise so useful because it forced me to consider things I hadn’t thought of before. All of which would contribute towards building and maintaining trust. My client’s (or potential clients) emotions at each stage of their customer journey. What the specific moments of truth are and how to handle their critical interactions. This was a real eye-opener for me.
A new lens
Both frameworks are not new. They are not new to me but when I looked at them through the lens of know, like and trust a new world opened to me. A perspective that I have never considered before. A tried and trusted framework with a twist that changed the way I viewed my client interactions. And more importantly has helped me build and maintain the trust of my existing clients and given potential new clients the chance to know me, (hopefully) like me and ultimately trust me.