Set the expert genie free

What does it mean to be a Sharing Superhero? What was it that convinced Ben, Gina and Gene to give everything away?

It was a relentless pursuit of customer delight, first and foremost. Being tuned in to the reason your business exists, catering to the needs of your community, your town and our global village.

They are no different to you and me. They go home each evening and on all but those rare days are buoyed by the joy of building a successful, profit-motivated business.

And they understand, Gina, Ben and Gene, that the currency traded for sustainable growth is not in the tangible products, but in the expertise that charges through the organisation like a river. It is in the people around them, the suppliers, the industries theirs abut and even the competition.

It’s in the passion to care, to share, and the lust to show, and grow. Because while we’re at this rhyming parlaver, there’s another home truth that shines like a diamond – when you tell more, you sell more.

Discovered your competition is no longer Kryptonite, but an invaluable source of information. Whatever they do, you can do it better – effortlessly.

To be a Sharing Superhero means you’re obsessed with delivering value in every piece of content you put out there. You don’t just whizz it out in five minutes – you develop a reputation so that every time your news and ideas are in the public domain, people are jumping on them with giggly excitement like a day on the trampolines.

Let’s talk about value

Value means a revolutionary mindset. Previously you’ve been guarded and protective. As a Sharing Superhero you can’t give enough information away.

What I learned a couple of years ago was that karma does exist, no matter whether or not you truly believe in things like The Secret.

That is, whatever you give, you get back in multiples. And the content you give away, while absolutely valuable, isn’t the whole story. Because the real gold is in working with you, if you’re a service provider – or in the products that people want to use.

Don’t be afraid to give it all away

I used to be pretty cagey about telling people everything I knew about a subject, if it was something I was working on.

And then I realised during a Mastermind Group that as soon as you’ve let the cat out of the bag, your mind is already working on a new initiative that takes you to new levels of success. And those people you just helped? They’re practically begging to help you achieve your next goals.

Not only that, but the stuff you’re being hired for is the bespoke information that you simply couldn’t give away because you don’t yet know exactly what that reader-turned-client needs.

Being a content philanthropist is the most valuable status you could ever hope for – for you and your customers.

Today, more opinions about what you do will be cast further and wider than ever before. The power of the people is growing, and everyone wants to tell their neighbour, cat and friends exactly what they’ve bought, ate, listened to and talked about.

As the groundswell of sharing has loomed ever larger, backward-thinking companies have shrunk into the darkness, either in denial or simply fearing the worst.

Flip the coin and you’ll find innovators and pioneers embracing the change. As people share their thoughts and feelings about brands, businesses, blogs and any other paraphernalia that Facebook can turn into advertising currency, so us businesses have a responsibility to get in on the act. To start conversations, to advise and support people with what we know, and the things we’ve experienced.

Sharing certainly isn’t new. At its most raw, sharing is barter: Companies bring their wares to the table, either free or paid-for, and a transaction is made whether in notes or respect.

Those same companies who are learning to embrace the potency of sharing are seeing benefits that far outweigh the one-off sale.

We already know that a loyal customer is five times cheaper to keep than a new client is to attain. But until now we’ve not really understand exactly the secret sauce to making our customers truly happy and fulfilled with the service we provide.

Few of us have shop windows, any more. Fewer still realise that the amply more effective successor to that promotional space, is our website. It is our hub, our future, a round-the-clock opportunity to influence, engage, educate, excite and entertain.

TEL more, sell more…

Trust, Engagement and Loyalty. That’s the TEL, and they’re the gatekeepers of long-term success. And they start when you begin to understand that a customer is far more valuable than a sale. One customer alone can build a business. That snowball effect we’ve all heard of – imagine if you were able to cosset just one customer to the point they brought every member of their family to your door. They in turn encouraged their friends to do business with you, and so on.

You don’t need TV advertising. You don’t need newspaper advertorials, and you certainly don’t need direct mail. The only sales tool you need is word of mouth marketing.

Little wonder pyramid schemes laced with invisible snake oil were so popular among the get-rich-quick schemers. Multi-level marketing (MLM) is intoxicating at its worst – but when it’ leashed in a win-win, wholesome capacity where your intent is to add value to the customer’s life, it’s downright magical.

Word of mouth marketing is the byproduct of what Seth Godin called ‘the Purple Cow’, which translates as ‘remarkable’. Astonishingly the idea of a business being transparent, accountable and radiating personality is still remarkable – perhaps more so than ever before. The internet has allowed many to hide behind pixels. Rare it is for a customer to ever talk to a merchant, these days.

But are you starting to understand how you can go against the grain and the gossamer-thin relationships built between your competition and their clients?

If there’s one lesson you learn from this book, it’ this – and it’s two words long:

Be there

Show up. Give your customers everything you can. If you sell physical goods, this advice should be brought into even sharper focus. Provide as much useful information and advice as you can, in every form possible, and you’re in the 1% the other 99% will never reach.

In the chapters to follow we’ll take a look at the tools you can use to develop solid relationships through content creation and content curation. This book isn’t a glossary of URLs, though – the pace at which websites become flavour of the month, then go out of vogue, is bewildering and makes Moore’s Law look like the work of a lame snail.

It’s going to take a little time to fully wrap your mind around a totally new way of working with your customers. The customers are in control, though, and the quicker you realise the simple fact that every customer is your paymaster and CEO, the better.

We’re talking communication creating customer communities. I’m excited to be sharing this ride with you, and I’m determined by the end of this adventure, your business will be steady and ready to hit new levels of growth and enduring success.

The expert in you

A wise old man (though younger than me) once declared that you’re an authority on a subject if you’ve study it for an hour longer than they.

Which makes a lot of sense. And we all have the feeling that everyone knows what we know, which is blatantly an untruth and a disservice to ourselves. If you run a business specialising in a subject, then you’ll know more than almost 100% of the world’s population, even if that topic happens to be technology.

In fact technology is an excellent example. Hit Twitter and you’ll see thousands of people posting the latest tech announcements, talking about the newest and greatest ways to use LinkedIn, and even suggesting the iPad 65 is out new week.

It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that the whole world is on the same hymn sheet. But the fact that’ been brought home to me and my mastermind group members time and time again is that us geek types live in a bubble. Not a bubble like the one that blew up in the late 90s causing billions to be wiped off the stock market, but a microcosm of society comprising people who falsely believe everyone thinks like they do.

In my world pre-2010, everyone had mastered Facebook, and knew how to build a computer. The thousands of successful social media specialists making significant fortunes from people who wanted to know the basics of Mark Zuckerberg’ website told a different tale. Meantime big box brands selling millions of frankly shocking-quality, pre-built computers were contradicting my alternative assumption.

So I want to impress on you this: You know way more than I do, than probably every other reader of this book does, about your specialist subject.

And by leveraging the power of content curation, you’re into a totally different league.

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