How Kevin Bacon is changing sales.
If you were born in the age of bell bottoms like me, you probably have played at one time or another the old parlor game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” or “Six Degrees of Separation,” which suggested that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintances apart from each other—from Kevin Bacon, or from any other movie star for that matter. In other words, if you pair up any two people in the world, you will, on average, create a link to any other person within a string of six or fewer acquaintances.
Sounds great, right? Well, if you feel today that you are six degrees away from anyone, you are stuck in the 80s, baby! In the new world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the other social sites, we are now just one degree away from anyone in the world. Welcome the brave new world of one degree, and it is changing the way everyone does business.
“If you pair up any two people in the world, you will, on average, create a link to any other person within a string of six or fewer acquaintances.”Stacey AlcornI own several real estate offices. Last year, I noticed that one of my colleagues in California had listed the home of boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard. I tweeted the listing out to the world. Guess who picked up the tweet? Yes, Sugar Ray Leonard himself picked up the tweet and retweeted it out to the world. Ten years ago I would have guessed that I would have been six acquaintances, or degrees, away from Sugar Ray Leonard. Today, we are one degree apart and he has the ability to know if I am talking about him via social media. Furthermore, he can share, comment on, or reply to that message.
Knowing that there is only one degree of separation between you and anyone in the world that you need or want to know, there are a whole new set of rules on how to build an amazing business utilizing social media as your gateway to the previous “untouchables” of high society and C-level suites.
1. Go blog or go home
Every amazing expert, entrepreneur or sales professional in the world has a blog. If you do not, you should create one ASAP. A blog is your proof of how amazing you are in your line of work. Here is just one way you can use this strategic marketing asset to land new clients: Interested in getting a sales or business appointment with a business owner, C-level executive or just about anyone? Ask for an interview. If you want to land an appointment with a potential new client, do it by offering to interview them for your blog. Everyone has an ego and nothing nourishes it like someone wanting to interview you. Once you get that appointment, make sure to pick their brain to get all the juicy details of how they got to where they are today.
The point of this is threefold. Number one, you get to learn from amazing people. Number two, you get insider info on how to best sell them on your product or service. When you interview someone on their success, they offer all kinds of clues as to what it would take to sell them something. Last, but certainly not least, the interview is your opportunity to start to build a relationship with the person you are interested in doing business with in the future. What do you do with this interview? Add it to your blog and share their wise ideas with the world. Over time, you become the go-to person for ideas on building a successful business. This is key: Never try to sell anything at the interview appointment. That appointment is about everything except selling them. That comes down the road once the relationship is solidified.
Now that we know we are one degree away from anyone in the world we need to meet or know, it is important to realize how critical social media can be to your business. What 99 percent of companies do with social media is talk. They yap away about how great they and their business are. Boring. The real value of social media is that the people you want to know are talking. The best thing you can do is shut up and listen. The best way to network is to listen to others. We live in a world where people are easily drowned out and they crave attention from anyone that will listen. This is no different with social media. Shhhhhhh… listen. Your client just had a baby? Send a card and gift. Your employee’s son just made honor roll? Send a card and a gift, or even just call to congratulate them. They will be thrilled you did. Social media is an opportunity unlike anything we had 20 years ago. We get this amazing ability to see into the lives of the people we work with and the ones we want to. Do not waste that opportunity. Listen. Act.
3. Happy birthday
Social media has enhanced the opportunities available to business owners. Why? Ten years ago, a person might get all kinds of cards and phone calls on their birthday wishing them a great day. Social media has stifled that personal touch to a point where most people and businesses think that a Facebook birthday wish is totally sufficient. We rarely receive cards now. Phone calls on our birthday have become almost nonexistent. This means that there is a monumental opportunity for anyone looking to make their mark. Want to impress your clients? Pick up the phone and wish them a happy birthday, or even send a card. Six months from now, the receiver of your birthday wish will remember you, unlike the other 200 people who plastered a canned greeting on their Facebook wall on their special day.
So, be sure to use this new world of one degree to your advantage. Think about ways to stand out from others using social media as your research tool. And hey, I just tweeted a message to Kevin Bacon. Will he respond? Who knows! I do know that he will receive my note, and I did not have to weed through six acquaintances to get to him. Social media has created the one-degree world, and those that realize it now have the opportunity to create colossal momentum in their business. Are you in? I hope so. Stay in touch, you hear!
Stacey Alcorn, J.D., is Owner of RE/MAX Prestige, the third largest real estate firm in the state of Massachusetts. A serial entrepreneur, Alcorn is a Real Estate Broker, Attorney and Founder of MyLittleBlackBox.com, a fashion mail-order company. Alcorn mentors businesses of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, on topics of employee management, hiring, franchising, mergers and acquisitions, sales and leadership. Alcorn also serves as a leadership columnist for The Huffington Post and is the author of the new book “REACH! Dream, Stretch, Achieve, Influence.” Follow Stacey on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/StaceyAlcorn10x) and Twitter (@empoweredpeeps).