Mid 2010 or thereabouts, I had finished reading two books by Jay Conrad Levinson; “Guerrilla Marketing Online – Second Edition” and “Guerrilla Marketing Online Weapons – 100 Low Cost, High-Impact Weapons for Online Profits and Prosperity,” and after I’d completed those books, I jotted down some thoughts in an article of my own on strategic planning with a guerrilla marketing motif. I noted the realities and differences between local community brick and mortar operations and online small businesses.
Later in the year, I had a short dialogue about this with the famous business author and columnist, Leanne Hoagland-Smith (Your Increase Sales Coach). We talked about how it was important for entrepreneurs to leave their egos at the door so to speak, and how it was important for businesses to not only have online presence but not to forget about their real business relationships. She noted that;
“Business is conducted belly to belly. Social media can develop relationships and attract some attention, but true long lasting relationships start with personal contacts from thank you notes to phone call and face to face meetings.”
You know what, she’s absolutely right and it’s far too easy in all this barrage of information and online social networks to forget that truth. Indeed, if you want to increase sales you have to know your customers, really know them, not just have a couple of pictures of customers or friends on some business social networking website. It’s all about Face-To-Face contact, that’s how the real world works, nothing has changed in that regard. These new online tools are just that, they are vehicles to reach the customer, not the only and final step.
Interestingly enough, I did read Leanne’s book “be The Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits,” and would recommend it to everyone, especially those who may not understand my points in this article, her book is a classic and I think it’s right up there with “Who Stole My Cheese,” and other notable business books for the entrepreneur. There are some things in business I’ve had to learn the hard way, and I hope you don’t have to do the same, so after I read that book, I was indeed so happy to have received it.
You see, it is truly incredible to me how a small business person can spend time setting up a social network page, talking to people around the country, hoping it will help their local retail store. Yes, someday they may get a client or two, or sell an item here and there. The reality is to truly network, you need to start in your community, you need to be part of the community, and you need to press the flesh.
Those companies which are part of the community, not just scraping the cream off the top will always do better. It seems sometimes that getting friends on Facebook, or other social networks is a waste of time, because these are not real friends, you don’t know them, they are just pictures of individuals, who is to say what those people are about? It makes no sense to me, and it seems like a shortcut for true business relationships. Something is amiss, we need to fix this. If you are in a small business of your own, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.