Just Business… Nothing Personal… Of course business is personal. The concept that somehow when we call something “business” the personal touch to the end user and/or potential customer becomes less important is just wrong. I don’t care if you’re the owner of a small “mom and pop” organization or the CEO of a global conglomerate all business is personal or at least it should be.
Company evangelism is at an all time high. Businesses are not only expecting this of their leaders but now they expect it from all. Everyone… from the front receptionist to the part time warehouse worker. From engineering, accounting, sales, and operations. Is that fair? Is that even possible?
Years before it was penned “crowdsourcing” by Jeff Howe in Wired Magazine I was involved with this concept and watched it work quite well. A friend’s small car dealership was looking for a new jingle for their radio ads. Instead of hiring a marketing company (or using an internal employee) they put the word out that anyone in Austin could submit a jingle and the winner would receive $1000 bucks! The response was incredible and the jingle is still being used 20+ years later. A key ingredient to this success was the location as Austin TX was/is packed full of singer songwriters. We’ll talk more about that later.
Business owners, managers, and sales professionals can be blind to a changed market and new competition. In relying on their small group of influence they miss the big picture many times. Ego can also stand in the way. Small successes continue to reinforce small thinking. It’s like the frog standing in the pan of water and stays there as the heat is turned up until boiled alive.
No matter how great an organization is there are always customer issues. It could be a misunderstanding, personality conflict, a service level issue, or simply customer remorse. Many times all of these at once. As the original relationship builder, the sales professional needs to be able to work with customer issues or as I like to fondly call them, customer heat.
My wife needed a new vehicle due to medical issues. She was in Seattle for the operation. I had a week before I needed to get the vehicle to her. The mini-van needed detailed, rear bumper repaired, leather and heated seats added, and floor mats. I paid what they asked and was pre-approved. Pretty easy sale. While signing the papers I was asked to take the vehicle now and then bring back later. I resisted as this was inconvenient and unnecessary. I just wanted to pick it up when all the work was finished. Ultimately I was convinced to take it now.
Networking is certainly not new to business relationship building. The need for business relationships has been around as long as business transactions have taken place. The difference is now with social networking I can start relationships in minutes that typically took months or years before… if at all… anywhere in the world. Professionals and companies of all industries have adopted some sort of business networking integration with social media. They use these tools in a variety of ways to promote themselves, ideas and products.
The “great fear” of businesses globally is that their employees are going to commit them to unspeakable liabilities and ultimately “twitter” their business away. Could this really happen? If you ask any business attorney they will of course tell you absolutely or at the very least possibly. My question then is how is this any different than emails, text-messages, recorded conversations (especially in one-party states), voice-mails, letters, verbal conversations… etc.? While I’m not an attorney common sense would tell me that while each of these “technologies” have their differences they are all areas of possible worry and liability. So why the business paranoia on only the new social media venues?