Over the past few days I’ve been doing a lot more reflecting on my business and what has helped to make it is today. As I have thought about my successes over the past few years, I have come to the conclusion that these are not caused by the knowledge or skills I possess. It’s not from 13,000+ fans I’ve connected with on Twitter. Nor the thousands on Facebook. While those things are nice, they don’t make people hire me to speak or ask me to build them a custom WordPress site.
What I realized is that people hire me because they have formed a level of trust with me. This revelation came to me the other day as I thought about the amazing time I had this past week in Atlanta, GA at the RETSO conference. It was a fun time spent with friends & family, but what made the trip so enjoyable was my good friend Maura who lives there and her assistance with what to do when not at the conference. Maura is a real estate agent in the area that knows what is happening in her community. She also runs a really great site called 365 Atlanta where Maura shares great information on places, events, & things to do in the Atlanta area.
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know Maura somewhat well through various conferences and social media platforms. In fact, the past two years I was invited to an amazingly delicious dinner held at her house before RETSO because of the connection we have made online. I know that Maura wouldn’t just randomly invite me to her house if she didn’t trust the connection we made online first.
In the past when attending RETSO, I would just go wherever to eat and do whatever was close by for entertainment because I didn’t know the area. Sometimes I would have OK experiences, but most the time it ended up in disaster. To be completely honest, the top experience was visiting a Dave & Busters once for Gahlord’s Edamame. However, this year I decided to take a different approach based on the trust I have formed in Maura through our interactions on social networks and her blog. Whenever it came time for dinner or to go do something, I simply asked Maura and she would quickly recommend a place.
She told me before the event even began that she had made reservations for us all on Friday night for a dinner downtown. Now, the conference is a good 30 minutes away and as we drove to downtown Atlanta, I did start to wonder why we were going so far away just to eat a meal. Until I placed the first bite of food into my mouth. Maura recommended us going to a restaurant called Rosebud which is owned by chef Ron Eyester and the food was out of this world delicious. I had fantastic tastes of everything from pimento cheese spread, mouthwatering calamari, and so much more.
While I could have eaten anywhere else along the way or much closer to our conference, I went with Maura’s choice though because of past good experiences and the trust I’ve formed from her past successful recommendations. Now, whenever someone mentions Atlanta & housing, I immediately think of Maura. She knows her area and people form a trust in her because she is a regular person online just trying to help others. What’s even more amazing, is that once someone trusts her, they are more willing to work with her and trust her with not just their bellies, but also their money. She has had great success with her real estate career all from her 365 Atlanta site that doesn’t even really talk about real estate.
I’ve found this to be the same in my business. I don’t really do a lot of selling across the social networks. Very rarely do I even make mention to my business on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks. Instead I try to spend more time helping others and sharing all I know with others openly. On Twitter, over 75% of the 29,000 tweets I’ve sent, are me having conversations with others or promoting them, not me broadcasting stuff. On Facebook, I find myself spending most of my time now in private or closed tech support groups interacting with others and helping them with whatever they need. I share openly my skills and help whenever possible.
By simply being my normal self and not focusing on a sale, it has brought my business tremendous success. When someone contacts me about hiring my services, they don’t question my ability to do the job. They already know me well enough through the various social networks or my blog to just trust me. When I mention a price or my rates, they don’t second guess them, they already know enough about me to simply agree and hire me if it fits their budget.
If I spent all day trying to just make sales and not be social across the different platforms, people would no longer trust me. Instead they would start to completely ignore every single thing I posted in fear of being sold to. I’d go from being a good friend to just noise that gets ignored.
So before you send your next tweet or next Facebook status update, ask yourself this: How will this update build more trust with those I am connected with?