August 30, 2014

Small Business News: Selling Integrity

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No matter what product or service your business offers, in the end, you’re selling something else entirely. That happens to be trust in your ability to deliver on promises and to do what you say you will do for your customer or client. Call it whatever you like, what you are marketing is your business’s integrity which translates to how well you can deliver on committments and what kind of results customers can expect. In this Small Business Trends roundup, we examine what goes into building this integrity and how the need to maintain it is driving the business world.

Marketing

Rule number one: Don’t lie. Yep, it sounds obvious, but as Susan Oakes observes, when making claims about a product or service, we can run the risk of exaggeration or even falsehood. Do you have data to support your claims and assertions? When big companies make misstatements, it can result in huge embarrassment. When small businesses do it, they simply erode trust and kill their chances of success before even getting started. M4B Marketing

The economy of integrity? Pierre DeBois reviews a book with a very different view of how business wealth is built than can be found in the average source. It can’t be a surprise that trust remains an integral part of what you offer any customer. But how much does trust count in the equation where business relationships are concerned? Small Business Trends

Social Media

How to stay human? Is the humanity disappearing from your business especially in an era when so much is done online? Are you going through the motions of communication? And what exactly does this say about how much trust others can place in you? Integrity is a human trait. Is there still humanity in your business? Chris Brogan

Who’s handling your social media? Social media has added a whole new dimension to the trust issue with small businesses. Not simply because we may sometimes post something that could undermine our own integrity but because increasingly we are outsourcing these functions to someone else. What’s the best way to be sure your social media company understands and communicates your business values? It’s for you to communicate with them. Vertical Measures

Customer Service

The difference between lip service and customer service. Sarah Mitchell explains the loss of integrity and trust when any business fails to deliver on what it promises. If the distance between what you say you will do and what you actually deliver on is too vast, the quality of your product or service ceases to matter. And your customers will soon belong to someone else. Global Copywriting

Want to build trust? You’d better keep the data shared with you by customers, clients and users safe. Letting it be stolen by a hacker or unwittingly exposed on your site will severely strain, if not destroy, the relationship between you and your customers. But could the need for security itself be a strong new niche market into which startups can venture. WSJ

Branding

Focus on quality. How much of the crap marketers work on when managing a brand is just that? asks Pat Henry. And isn’t the best branding still creating a great product people can care about? When talking about the integrity we bring to all of our small businesses, let’s remember it’s not just the expensive logo or carefully maintained image that counts. It’s what we do for customers. Small Business Community

Building brand by serving customers. Tools like Foursquare have taken the connection between small businesses and their customers to new levels. When we talk about this kind of connection and the kind of service that should result, we are talking about a new kind of integrity in marketing and branding, not one based on trying to convince a customer of something but a strategy directly focused on a customer’s real wants and needs. Catalyst Marketers

Sales

Integrity in sales. A canned value proposition created by a marketing department, or by you before even approaching a prospective customer or client, may be the wrong way to begin a potential sales relationship in your small business. Instead, sales consultant Tibor Shanto suggests developing questions that establish your credibility and expertise in delivering the kind of value a customer is seeking, rather than pitching a stock solution in an effort to make a quick sale. The Pipeline

Startups

Be honest with your investors. When it comes to pitching your business ideas, focus on knowing the honest answers investors will most want to hear about, not simply on telling them what you think they want to hear. Not having the answers to pertinent questions may damage your reputation for future projects and could create a bad relationship with investors long-term in the event your business is funded. JumpStart

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  1. Thanks so much for listing our post here. With the growth of social media marketing, business professionals have a lot of questions regarding running their social media marketing campaigns and communities. We are happy to help!

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