When we go to bed, most of us are looking to relax and unwind. That can involve reading a book, and for some of us, that is the only relaxing and focused time we get to spend all day. If you connect with your clients and become part of their bedtime rituals, you will have a bigger impact and more success. REAL thought leaders know how to do this.
REAL is an acronym because REAL thought leaders tend to do four things really well: they achieve significant Reach in their target market, they do so with excellent Engagement, they become recognised Authorities in their field and they have sustained impact or Longevity in the mind of their clients.
Longevity is a tricky thing to achieve, especially in this climate of overstimulation and saturation of people’s attention. There are three keys, however, which, if implemented successfully, will help you stay in someone’s mind longer. They are Recency, Relevance and Reference. So, it turns out your teachers were right – it pays to master the three R’s.
Recency simply means ensuring your market hears from you often enough so that you are always top of mind. People seem to have a shorter span of attention, which means they need more reminders. When someone has a need for what you do, chances are greater that they will think of you if you have contacted them within the past few days, rather than weeks or months earlier.
People also only seem to have time and attention for things that are relevant, which is why thought leaders make such an impact. They get the reader where it hurts and offer insights on his or her most urgent issues. Information overload has forced many people to filter out most of the ‘noise’ that arrives in their inbox and even face-to-face. For example, at a networking meeting, one survival mechanism is to remember only those people who said something you could relate to.
Finally, it helps if you have something tangible for your followers to read, listen to or watch in their own time. A book is the obvious choice because it can sit by the bed and represent you even when you are not there. Books in print are still the de facto credibility builders, althought we are seeing good quality ebooks being read on handheld readers. Although, despite all the hype, I still see about ten times as many people on public transport reading hard copy books, compared to those using an ebook reader. I don’t know what they do in bed.
The goal of effective communication is intimacy. Clients want to get to know you, the person, not just a corporate entity. Many small business owners make the mistake of over-marketing their company brand and under-marketing themselves. It may feel uncomfortable to share personal information with your market, but if you think about it, social media is making this more and more commonplace. (This is why the younger generation is finding it easier to do business in this way).
You can fight it if you like, only talking about business and putting on a corporate façade, but remember, your clients want to feel like they know you. The best ways to do this are to build rapport by speaking their language and being conversational. Don’t you prefer this style too? Real thought leaders seem to get into the other person’s head and then boldly lead them to the solutions to their biggest concerns.