Is it possible to build a business by yourself? There was a time that I thought the best way to build my business was to run myself ragged.
I joined the local Chamber of Commerce; no wait, I joined four of them. If there was a meeting, I was there. If there was a networking group, I made sure to have as many business cards as I could on me and I never missed an opportunity to promote myself.
I became a member of a fantastic BNI group and EVERY Wednesday morning at 7:30 am I was there whether I wanted to be or not.
I spent hours meeting with other business owners, getting to know them and their business and figuring out how I could become their point person for referrals.
I was doing so much that it got to the point I was accomplishing nothing. I had to learn the hard way how to actually network and figure out how to connect with the right people who I could bring value to and help so that they would have a reason to do the same for me.
It’s No Different Online.
I see the very same things happening online… business owners are spinning themselves into oblivion just doing, doing, doing; and getting little if anything in return for their doing.
- They are writing blog articles no one is reading.
- Creating social media posts that no one are paying any attention to.
- Making videos about how cool they are or how spectacular their product or service is.
Offline and online, the epidemic is that too many are trying to build their businesses by themselves by just creating a website and content across the web. They are completely disconnected to any sense of community or networking.
WARNING: No one has ever built a business by themselves.
We all need raving fans who help us spread our message. We need the help of others who believe in us and are willing to share us with their audiences if our long-term efforts are to be worth the investment in time, money and sacrifice to build a business and fulfill our dreams.
If you’re ready to learn how to give someone a reason to share your content, scream your name and tell their network why they need you then read on.
I believe that networking online is the single biggest, neglected form of marketing power you will ever do. Everything else pales in comparison when you understand how the internet really works. (You can learn more on the Begin Here page)
How are Raving Fans Created?
There are a lot of articles on the internet about how to create referral programs and raving fans. In my opinion, many of them woefully miss the mark.
Many of them will try to give you a step by step process of how to motivate someone to send you business. But the truth is many of them just don’t work. The reason they don’t work is because they lack a strong conversation around value; and value is what drives a business.
So what is value?
Value is simply this:
“Solve one problem (or meet one need or desire), for one person, with one solution per article.”
Creating value demonstrates competency and competency is why someone ultimate buys you. They believe that you can do for them what someone else can’t do; or through the competency building process you earn their trust and they like you over the competition. But it starts and ends with competency.
Instead of a process, allow me to share a philosophy that I believe will forever change the way you think about this?
Why a philosophy?
Because creating a raving fan is more about “being” than it is about creating.
So, here is my philosophy; when you are so competent and good at what you do that you forever change and better the lives of your website visitors, social media followers, email subscribers, prospects and customers they have no choice to but to share you with their world! They have no choice but to engage with you, get to know you, and appreciate what you do for them.
When you create value at this level you stand out immediately and are different.
That’s the philosophy. But there is more…
Now that you have a working philosophy what about a process?
Here is what I will say about that…
Raving fans are created through your value; and then through the value of your engagement.
It’s not about process, it’s about engagement and the value of engagement relative to the person you want to network with.
If you want value, you have to give value.
If want a raving fan, you have to become a raving fan!
It works both ways. It’s never a one-way street.
How Do I Get Someone to Become a Raving Fan?
Over the years there have been a number of things I’ve done to earn a raving fan.
- I’ve sent a referral(s)
- I helped them with a need at a discounted rate
- I offered to help them with a need for free (but I always tell them what I want for it upfront)
- I go out of my to promote them
- I demonstrate that I care more about them than what I can get out of them
That last one is vitally important to understand.
If people believe we are only out to manipulate our way into something they will never accept our offers and give us a chance to do bring them value.
When you care about someone you give your best, and nothing short of your best.
You want a raving fan!!!
You want someone who has some influence to have a reason to tell their world how wonderful you are! They cannot and will not do that if you give them your mediocre best. This is your highest paying customer of all time!
They will introduce you to more people than you could ever meet on your own!
This is the reason you work so hard to bring them value. You want them to share their experience and story.
Some Examples of How This Works
How do you earn fans? Let me share just two examples of many:
My good friend Tim Kerin is a 26 year business owner of seven multi-million dollar businesses in the Washington D.C. area.
Tim and I met 38 months ago through a press release he discovered about me and then checked out my LinkedIn page.
He emailed me an introduction and initiated a call with me. We just hit it off right from the start.
I was living in Dallas, TX at the time and he happened to be in town so he and his wife attended the Saturday morning event I was putting on.
A few months later we moved a few hours away from him in Lancaster, PA.
He invited me to check out CORE Networking, a networking company that he co-owns. Immediately, I was drawn into this incredible group of business professionals and owners. I joined as web design and development professional and had a phenomenal experience.
During the group share time I tried to bring incredible value to the conversations and share tips, ideas and strategies that would help each business at a practical level. I earned a lot of business from the group.
In May of 2014 I got a referral to a large pharmaceutical company in Maryland who was in need of a website. It’s November 2015 and we are now signing a contract to build that site. It’s not something I normally do anymore but this one feels special and what a great competency building opportunity.
Since then, Tim has gone on to lead the Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders Initiative in the Washington D.C. area, and his new home in Costa Rica will be featured in HGTV’s “House Hunters International” this winter.
Here is the cool part, last year he started an Executive Roundtable with Learning Lessons in Business, a business he started to give executives and business leaders a place to talk about their challenges and needs.
In September 2015 Tim asked me to speak before the group. Tim was so pleased that he is hosting another event on November 17th with a much larger group that he has asked me to come and present another presentation titled “Blueprint of a Highly Successful Digital Marketing Presence.”
The September speaking event earned me an opportunity to potentially work with a consulting firm in the D.C. area.
Here is the point, Tim is not just a friend, he’s not just a mentor; he’s a raving fan who has been wonderful to me over-and-over again.
I built CORE’s website, built at least ten other websites through CORE, built a number of Tim’s websites (I love how LearningLessonsinBusiness.com came out) and through Tim’s influence and endorsement I’m earning the opportunity to coach and consult some really top brands.
In the spirit of value and networking, if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur who is struggling with business challenges and are in need of an entrepreneur coach and mentor I encourage you to check Tim out and learn how he can help you build a dynamic business!
When I started the blog here on Unveil the Web in May 2014, I immediately began taking everything I learned over the years about creating value and networking online and putting it to practice.
I found Adrienne’s blog pretty quickly and as I read her work I realized how intelligent and inspiring she is and I was sucked right in. In fact, I wasn’t alone as Adrienne is known to get 100+ high quality comments per article on her blog.
She is just that engaging and fun!
I knew I would have to leave my most valuable comments for her to notice me.
It took a few months but slowly and consistently we began connecting until one day I felt comfortable enough to reach out to her by phone.
I had no agenda other than to get to know her.
Over the months we spoke several different times and I began to sense a friendship.
I wrote my first eBook titled “The Shift – Making the Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context Marketing” and I asked her if she would read it and offer some feedback.
WOW! I got some phenomenal feedback from her.
So much so that about six weeks later she contacted me and said the book resonated with her so much that she wanted to talk with me.
And talk we did…. I had the fortunate opportunity to work with her because she realized that her message was completely off and that she had created something that appeared successful but it wasn’t successful in the way she wanted it to be.
In fact, our time together was so productive for her that just a few weeks ago she wrote a guest post here on my site talking about how our time together changed her business so much that she has more consultations and business than ever before. She has shared on her blog numerous times about my work and introduced me to many people.
If you’re a blogger for business and you know your message but you don’t understand how to create a dynamic blog for your business, I suggest you contact Adrienne on her website today. If anyone can help you build a dynamic blog, it’s Adrienne!
How I Got on a Fortune 500 Blog
I want to share briefly one other quick story. Late in the spring the battery in my car went out. I’m a big fan of Interstate Batteries so I went to the local Interstate Batteries store. While there I had a great conversation with the franchise owner and he went way above and beyond. So I wrote an article and mentioned him.
That article ended up on Interstate Batteries blog. This has been a phenomenal experience!!! Check it out here.
What Has Been My Results?
Before I go any further, I want to share that are many more who have become raving fans and I raving fans of them because they create such amazing value. In addition, some of them have helped me by sharing my articles and helping me to earn tens of thousands of dollars that I would have never been able to do without them!
These are folks you might want get to check out their websites and I encourage you strongly to do so:
Michael Stricker (U.S. Marketing Director at SEMrush)
Where do you start?
Creating raving fans starts with having a clear, concise, relevant and meaningful message that brings value over-and-over again.
I won’t take the time to get into how to do that here, but here are a few articles that you can read on this subject or you can visit the “Begin Here” page:
- What are the Secrets to a Highly Successful Business Website?
- Why I’m Simplifying the Presentation of My Message
- Why You Have Branding Wrong and How to Get it Right for Massive Growth
Your message is your value and your value is your message! According the 2015 B2B Web Usability Report the #1 reason someone leaves a website immediately is because of a lack of message.
IBM just came out with a study that said nearly 80 percent of consumers feel the average brand doesn’t understand them as an individual.
Value starts with the eye of the beholder based on their problems, needs or desires.
If you want to sway them to become raving fans who will share you with their audience you will have to learn how to message to them (i.e. not talk about yourself) and deliver your message in a way that leaves them so much better off for you being in their lives.
By now I hope I’ve shown that just creating and sharing content alone will not work to help you build a business. It takes others through helping them be successful.
If you create that kind of value, they will take your message and propel you to new heights as they talk about how competent and wonderful you are!
Believe me, it’s easier for others to sell me than it is to sell myself. Instant validation and credibility from others is HUGE and much more profitable long-term!
If you want to learn more about networking and creating raving fans I have an entire chapter dedicated to this subject in my new eBook titled “The 7 Invincible Laws of Business Blogging Success.”
It’s available for pre-order right now at the incredible high price of .99 cents.
Do you know you have a problem with messaging? Click here now and learn more about my affordable six week 1-on-1 coaching program where I will help you transform your message and business just like I did with Adrienne Smith.
If you have a comment, idea or contribution you want to make to this article, please leave it in the comments below and let’s chat.
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