Gary Vaynerchuk just released a book about relationships, the economy and business changing, and how this all fits together (not an affiliate link).

Damn him.  He got there first.  I’ve been writing about this for years, but he’s currently better at shipping than I am.  For now.

But he is exactly right, this is where business and marketing are heading

We are becoming more connected and seeing the reversing trend of business going back to it’s roots, becoming a smaller community by the day. We are held accountable, we are known by our actions, and every business now has to comply with these new standards or fall by the wayside. You cannot ignore customer relationships anymore. You have to pay attention. Or else you will die.

Now, Gary talks a lot about Social Media, specifically the massive connectedness of the internet

And he’s probably right to do so. But the internet, social media, and all these things are merely tools and focusing on them only complicates the matter for everyone. What I mean is that local businesses and small businesses have forgotten HOW to form relationships with clients, like they are going to learn it on the fly with Social Media?

I like Social Media as a tool for connecting but you have to know how to connect first and then you can use it effectively

What story are you telling? What is their story and how does it merge successfully with yours? What stage of the relationship are in with your clients? Are you just acquaintances, friends, or are you partners? How do you know which it is? If you can’t answer these questions then you need to reevaluate what you know about business and marketing. In fact, we will start the re-education right now and change some vocab.

Business is no longer “selling stuff”

Sales is no longer about dollar transactions.  And marketing no longer means tricking people into buying things they don’t want. You can try to say to yourself that you don’t see it that way, that you know better, and that you have better definitions for business, sales, and marketing…

But you don’t, and you need to stop lying to yourself

It’s ingrained by the systems that we have set up to see these words in a certain light. A dark, red light. Deep down we feel bad about what we do but it doesn’t have to be that way. It wasn’t meant to be that way.

If you focus on money, on sales, you will focus on transactions

Transactions are not relationships and people can sense when you are not treating them as humans. The transactional mindset will often work long enough to get the job done, but if you look at it carefully it just doesn’t hold up over time. That’s why so many people close their doors, they don’t form relationships. The current system is set up to perpetuate transactions and people are not designed to love transactions. We are designed to love people. We are created to bond and connect with others. This is something that the current business atmosphere cannot comprehend or help to accomplish. It’s flaccid when it comes to relationships.

This needs to change. It will change.  And your clients are forcing the change. If you own a business, and you aren’t setting yourself up to pamper and cultivate your client relationships, your business is set to be abandoned. Your clients will leave you and the last one will turn out the lights.  You will go down alone.

The other option is to set up processes to make relationships easier

Just because you focus on cultivating relationships doesn’t mean that it has to be by the seat of your pants with no rules or guides. In fact, human relationships work in easily recognizable and understood ways. You can set up your business to be a part of that change.

More on that another time…