Today’s post is from Deborah Fingerlow who’s explaining why it’s more important than ever to authentically connect with people, and she’s sharing five vital steps for doing so.
What if you start with the intention of connecting rather than selling, when it came to growing your audience?
Chances are, people will open up and provide more useful information if they don’t immediately feel like they’ve stepped into a sales pitch. (I’m willing to bet you know that feeling yourself).
Imagine what you could do with the information of your dream client’s ultimate goals, biggest business struggles or fears… What would you create? What struggles would you eliminate in your business?
The good news is that the steps to authentically connect don’t just apply to business. Use these in your personal life, too, and watch the magic happen.
If you’re anything like me, your email is flooded with messages that urge you to do something. Earn a six-figure salary. Get more emails opened. Increase your conversion rate. Just do it now.
It can be overwhelming.
Connecting en masse is not an easy task.
I understand the need to promote your business; we all have to do it. A good friend of mine has a physical therapy practice, and I’ve been uncoordinated enough in my life to benefit from his expertise. Surprisingly, much of what I’ve learned applies to my business life as well.
Ever heard of an endless pool? The idea is to swim against the current to strengthen your muscles. It may not seem like you’re making progress, but you’re actually growing stronger every day.
It’s like that for entrepreneurs. We reach out, we try to grow our audience, and sometimes we wonder if anyone is listening.
They do. If you talk with them.
Sometimes that can feel like you’re swimming against the tide. Join a Facebook group where your audience spends time. Read. When someone needs help, lend a hand. Literally. Answer that individual person, but save the sales pitch.
5 Steps to Authentically Connect With Your Audience
Step One: Getting to Know You
This takes time. Did you know the first day you met someone they’d be your best friend? Probably not.
This is your chance to give. Answer a question. Comment on a blog post. Look at their Instagram and reply when something moves you. Spend a little time and give a thoughtful response. Make sure they know it isn’t a bot that submitted the comment.
Step Two: Be Real
We aren’t perfect and there’s no need to pretend we are. Think about it for a moment.
Don’t you love it when someone gives you a one-of-a-kind gift? When can you see the mark of the artisan that created it?
Same thing for all of us. We are talented and strong and excel at what we do. But we aren’t perfect. It’s okay to admit mistakes and show a little vulnerability from time to time. Some of the best posts are when we open up and show our true selves, warts and all.
Step Three: This is Who I Am
A spin-off from above, let your audience see who you are. Your About Me is a powerful tool. It allows people to see the person behind the business. It lets them understand your why.
My why is what we’re talking about right now. I really want you to connect and engage with the people around you. Online. In person. At the market. Everywhere. Good practice makes perfect and every day brings a new opportunity to engage with someone and to learn something new.
Take advantage of this.
Step Four: I Have Something Wonderful to Share With You
Now that you know your audience personally, now that you’ve engaged and learned more about them, it’s time for you to share. Now you can send that email. Now you can invite them to your webinar. Now you can share what you have to help them.
And now they will listen.
You’ve put in the time to connect and actually see the people you want to reach.
You have established yourself as someone who takes the time and energy to help someone else with their dream.
And now, they’re more inclined to help you with yours. Don’t stop now. Keep the conversation going. When you send an email, certainly give them an opportunity to opt-in to whatever you’d like to share. But also give them the chance to reply to you and continue to build these budding relationships.
Step Five: Happiness is a Perk
We’ve all heard about bonus material, and here’s yours. These connections that we make, whether great or small, make us happier. Studies show that we’re happier, and we enjoy a greater sense of belonging when we make the effort to interact.
My wish for you is not to make this a to-do list of things to grow your business. It’s to give you some guidance that can change the way you live for the better and to introduce new habits that make connecting with others second nature.
Do Me a Favor, Please
Reach out today to one person. It may be online. It could be at the market. Make an effort to connect through something simple, like a “hello” and a smile. It might mean rushing forward to grab a door. It could be as easy as adding a comment and admiring someone’s work.
See how you feel.
In person, we have immediate gratification, and our step automatically becomes a little lighter. Online may take a little longer, but there’s satisfaction is starting a new conversation. It’s a new beginning.
Or reach out and tell me what you think. If it’s difficult, let me know. Start a conversation and let’s connect and figure it out.
This is where the magic begins.
Which step stood out most for you?
How are you planning to apply it in your business? Leave a comment below!
About Deborah Fingerlow
Deborah Fingerlow is a writer, storyteller, traveler, and explorer seeking adventures both large and small. Business to business communications and the development of authentic connections are her super powers. You can find her at the local farmer’s market, therapy dogs in tow, camera in hand. Catch up with her on her blog and check our her website at www.deborahfingerlow.com.
If you’d like to connect better with the folks around you, sign up for her free, 5-day email course, Stop. Smile. Connect.
“Life is a grand adventure; don’t be afraid of taking a wrong turn.
Embrace it, and own your decision.”