by Kristie Kennedy
We live in a society that is driven by capitalism and consumers are becoming more astute each day. Marketing has taken a new direction and it is based on authenticity, relationship building and transparency. The power behind promotional campaigns rests in the ability to connect emotionally and psychologically. It is no secret that the lifeblood of any organization is rooted in strong relational bonds. Moreover, women account for 85 percent of purchasing decisions, ranging from automobiles to healthcare, and their choices to do business are often motivated by an instant emotional connection.
Here is an easy acronym to remember when thinking of becoming more transparent in business: S.H.A.R.E. I.T.
1) Share the START. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Lisa Nichols, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul, has become a master storyteller. She shares how difficult life was during the beginning phase of entrepreneurship. She pulls on our heartstrings when she talks about how she didn’t have enough money to purchase pampers for her child. He was wrapped in a wash towel and she declared in a pivotal moment that she would never be broke again. Her ability to be transparent even to this day creates an unshakeable bond with her loyal audience.
2) Communicate HONESTLY. When you conduct your business from a place of integrity it fosters current relationships and becomes appealing to potential clients. If the shipping was delayed due to an unforeseen technical issue, express it to the consumer and honor that person, perhaps with a complimentary item for any inconvenience. It only takes one great encounter to gain a client for life and it also only takes one unpleasant experience to lose that customer’s business for good.
3) Pay ATTENTION. People are always telling you what they need. The question is are you listening? The mouth is inspired to speak from thoughts residing beneath the surface. How many reoccurring complaints have you received about a specific product or service in your company? Are you continuously distracted during business meetings with technology? Every interaction with the public from employees, shareholders and clients will communicate a message that you are either thoughtful or thoughtless.
“Nothing is so powerful in making others feel important as giving them your undivided attention.” —Ben Brearly
4) REACH out. If you want to boost your know, like and trust factor pick up the phone to talk directly or face-to-face through video conferencing and connect deeply with your potential clients. We have lost the art of human touch in our technology-saturated society. The written letter is more endearing than a cold email. If someone contacts you via telephone please have the courtesy to respond back in the same manner. Social etiquette is always appropriate. Connect frequently to your buying audience and invest in their life before you ask them to increase your bottom line.
5) Lead by EXAMPLE. If you expect transparency from your team it starts with you. What type of culture do you desire to create—one that is toxic or nontoxic? Research shows productivity, trust and profitability increases as a result of transparent leadership. If your top-tier management is unsteady it is only a matter of time before the organizational structure collapses.
6) Respond IMMEDIATELY. Today’s businesses dwell in a world where speed leads, especially on social media. Around August of last year we saw Joel Osteen come under fire for not responding in a timely manner to the public. When questions are asked pertaining to your moral values address them swiftly. The longer it takes you to resolve issues, the more likely your audience is to become suspicious. Do not allow an insignificant molehill to become a mountain of mayhem.
7) Build TRUST. The foundation upon which your success stands is in the ability to foster trust every single day. Business leader Jon Gordon stated we should, “Value long-term relationships more than short-term success. When you are transparent with nothing to hide you can easily radiate trust.”
Always remember, no matter what business you are in, you are in ONE business and that, my friends, is the people business. If you take care of people, in the end they will take care of you. Ask yourself this question, “How can I enhance my leadership skills today in order to be a more effective leader tomorrow?”
Kristie Kennedy, Owner of Queenfidence ® Image Consulting, provides personal development and peak performance training to emerging, established and enterprising 21st century transformational leaders. www.kristiekennedy.com