Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Can I Build My Company With A 2.0 Mentality?

Having a 2.0 mentality.
We continue to hear in social networks conversations about the fact that there are still many companies which don’t understand completely the benefits they can receive from their participation in social networks, how they can calculate the ROI from their social media presence and many other things on the same order.

A few days ago, a fellow blogger to whom I regularly read, Inma Jimenez, published a post which was about how difficult it is to explain how social media works and the benefits it can bring to business to a person who doesn't use social media, and a few months back in this blog, another very dear friend of mine, Joaquin Gomez Moreno, answered the question, in a very practical and unique way, on his post: Can A Soap Handicraftsman Be Social? Chatting with Ana Garcia, Soap Handicraftsman.

But still it looks like, in despite of all the efforts people specialized in the social media industry do in commenting about the subject, talking and explaining the benefits a social media strategy can bring to your business, the social media thing continues to fall into a gray area, hard to understand and therefore difficult to be properly evaluated by you, the business owner.

Where do I think the problem might be?

"All I want is to sell more", yes but do you really know what “selling” means?

Obviously, the goal of many companies which rush to promote their business through social media is to bring in more sales. After all, what’s the point on investing such an amount of time and money, if business volume is not going to increase as well?

Almost all of us agree about this and have it clear. But I am positive you probably don’t realize completely the selling process goes far beyond what you mean when saying "sales".

On a very simple way, the "selling" process has three clearly defined stages: before, during and after the actual sale is done.

The Selling Process.

  • Before: Your potential customer becomes aware your business exists and enjoys a reasonably good reputation, that you have a product which can meet his desires and needs, knows where to buy it and, ideally, has had the opportunity to get recommendations from its friends or acquaintances about you. Has not yet made the decision to buy from you, but it’s getting closer.
  • During: It’s the actual transaction itself. The glorious time in which your customer gives you his money (or the payment method you prefer) in exchange for your product or service. There is little more to it. The actual sale occurs here. That’s what you are actually referring to when you say "I want to sell more", what you really want is to generate a larger volume of sales, more transactions and thus earn more money.
  • After: This is what happens after your customer has made the purchase of your product or services. Many companies refer to it on their communications but very few value it the way they should. The “after-sale” time is when you can build up customer’s loyalty winning them for life or losing them irretrievably. If everything goes well, your client will end up recommending your product to others and will continue to make business with you. If everything goes well.

If you take notice, the “before” and “after” stages represent your relationship with customers: During the “before” stage (or period before the sale) you make a strong effort to make your products visible, bring them closer to all those who can buy it, educate people about its features, and to promote your company’s reputation within its own industry.

Even though you are not generating actual "transactions" at this time, you are making it easier for your target market to have all the information they might need about your products or services so they can have it in the top of their minds when the decision-making time arrives.

And “after” the sale is done, your mission is (or should be) to make sure all things go well on your customer’s side, keep them satisfied, happy and willing to do business with you again and recommend you with others.

So where does social media fit within the selling process of your business?

Because of their wonderful ability to develop relationships and interactions with your target market, social networks can actually play an important role in your selling process, as long as you aren’t simply interested in generating more "transactions" and nothing else.

I’ve had the opportunity to work for "transactional" companies which were only concerned about generating more transactions, companies for which a client withdrawing their services or being upset did matter very little.

If this is your case, if you care little about the before and after stages in the selling processes of your business, then there is little you can find in social media, as they will not offer you a transactional channel.

How can you build your business with a 2.0 mentality?

But if instead, you fully realize the value of developing a close relationship with your clients, before and after the actual sale, even during the transaction itself, then social media can definitely be a powerful ally to growing your company.

But first, there must be a mentality change: Any change must start with yourself, and if you do not have a 2.0 mentality, it’s going to be very difficult for your company to have it.

Where can you start from?

  • Understand you’re doing business with people not with numbers.
  • Be sure to treat your customers as you would like them to treat you, before, during and after the sale.
  • Keep in mind that, in order to sell more, you have to build more and better relationships with your customers and your market.
  • Think of your sales as a process that goes far beyond pure commercial transactions. Each sale is the result of a job well done.
  • Value social networks as just the tools to achieve a goal, and not as the goal themselves.

By following these simple tips, I’m sure your actions in social media, and outside as well, will really help you in developing your business.

Related posts in this blog:
“I want to be in social networks but don’t know where to start with.”
Relationship value: What can you expect from social media?

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