What Does Meaningful Connection Mean?
What I want to talk to you about today may sound like it’s going against the grain of what we’re seeing in online communications these days. I want to talk to you about encouraging meaningful connections in your business online.
What I mean by a meaningful connection is: it’s purposeful, it has value, and both parties feel supported and cared for in the relationship.Meaningful connections have been vital in my own journey as well as in that of my clients’. This is true for local businesses as well as large online communities. What I’ve found is that the businesses who invest in creating and maintaining meaningful connections find their customers are happier, they receive more referrals, and they don’t have to expend as much on marketing.
This is due to the increased word of mouth and high level of trust their customers have towards them.
I feel like this lost art of meaningful connection has been totally forgotten in this era of mass marketing and automation.While I do support automation as a strategy to streamline communication, especially when you have a large community, I don’t think every nail requires the automation hammer.
Automation works best when used strategically and when it’s supported by some human interaction.
Have you ever been chatting with a customer support person for 15 minutes only then to realize it’s been a bot the whole time? How does that feel? Not so great.
That’s the moment where a lot of people “click off” from a business because they feel duped in the interaction.
Now when I say “connect meaningfully” I don’t mean you need to be out there shaking hands with every single person you meet. What it looks like in a peer to peer setting is more like meeting someone at a business event or networking function and following up with them via email and not just saying “let’s stay in touch.”
It’s about showing you really care about them and what they’re up to. Can you provide them value with resources or a contact from your network? Everyone responds positively when you show genuine interest in what they do and have to say.
With your clients, it’s very similar, but the focus is more on putting yourself in their shoes while they’re interacting with your business or community.
If you can dial in on where they might need a little extra encouragement or support you will make them feel that much more welcome in your world. If you’re a service based business, where can you provide them with an extra bit of surprise or delight?
I like to reach out to my customers and show them that I’ve taken the time to get to know them and what they care about. Some ideas here could be, donating to a cause they care about, sending them an unexpected gift or a thank you.
In a large community, it could be taking that extra time to be available to respond directly to questions and concerns.
Here are a few other pointers when it comes to creating meaningful connections:
Mean What You Say
I know it sounds simple, but please follow this one. Mean what you say and say what you mean. This can really destroy a relationship before it even gets started.
Some business owners will say anything to lock down a deal with a new client and in the long run, this can get you into trouble.
Come From A Place Of Service
Keep a mentality of “how can I support this person?” This means keeping an eye out for what resources you can offer your clients, maybe it’s a referral or a key piece of advice.
Pay attention when you’re connecting with people one on one. In person or on social media, take a look at what they’re seeing and how they’re doing.
If you’re someone who doesn’t remember this stuff naturally, consider taking notes.
If you hear about a problem a client is having and you have the ability to do something about it, let them know that you hear them and what steps you’re taking to solve the problem.
Try out all of these in your client relationships, with existing clients and new prospects. Let’s bring meaningful connection back to the online business world.
- Reach out to new contacts with thoughtful emails that pick up on the details, and how you can work together.
- Provide them resources to solve their current problems.
- Put yourself in the shoes of your customers as they’re interacting with your business.
- Surprise and delight your customers when possible, try out some of the techniques listed above.
Result You Will Achieve
More meaningful connections in your business which builds a strong community, more loyalty from clients, and increases your word of mouth.
This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.