I know you love your business, but do your customers?
What’s the “RAP” on you and your business? What do you mean you don’t know? You created it!
Just ask Mother Google. She is standing by with millions of info-bits and info-bites about you and your business that you (or anyone) can have in a nanosecond. For free.
What is posted about you (not what you have posted about yourself) on Google or on any social media is a reflection of how others perceive you. It’s also what others who are looking for you or what you sell may think of you once they find you. In short, it’s your “RAP.”
The old phrase is “rap sheet.” It was a police term for a summary of what was factual about your past — your record of events — mostly bad. It was a forerunner to Google.
I am creating and redefining a new “rap sheet” that encompasses both good and bad. It’s not just about “what was”: Your 21st century RAP sheet is about both “what was” and “what is.” And just like the old rap sheet, you create it.
Unlike the old rap sheet, the new RAP sheet can help you attract and grow if you’re aware of your online presence and how that affects and impacts your sales and your business.
The new RAP sheet — or should I say the “RAP of sales” — is broken down into segments that define the process by letter (R.A.P.), and once you read them, you will at once have an understanding and a game plan to improve in each area.
You’ll also have insight as to why the new RAP on you can make or break your business.
Here are the RAP elements:
Reputation: Built slowly over time, your reputation defines your present situation and your next sale. It documents how you react, respond and recover from service calls and issues, and it cements your image both online and in the customer’s thoughts. Your reputation is a reflection of your status in the business world and a reality check from your customer’s perspective.
Do this: Take responsibility for your reputation and take all necessary actions to build and preserve it.
Attraction: Not the “law of attraction” but rather “value attraction.” What value-based messages are you sending? What messages are your customers responding to? How are these messages creating a bigger, more responsive, more positive, more loyal customer base? Everything from daily tweets and blog posts to one-on-one customer interactions create your word-of-mouth and word-of-mouse attraction.
Ask yourself: What’s attractive about me and my business? Why would a customer follow me? What do I have to do to create more positive followers?
Profit: Not your profit — their profit. Make certain every customer knows and understands how they win after purchase, how they use and produce, and how they benefit and enjoy. Concentrating on customer value also has a positive internal affect. When customers are happy and feel valued, it creates a loyalty base of customers and employees. Profit is way more than money.
Here are a few companies you can look at as examples of good, mixed and bad:
Bad RAP: Borders, BlackBerry, Yellow Pages, AOL.
Mixed RAP: American Airlines, Goldman Sachs, JCPenney, DISH Network.
Good RAP: Amazon, Zappos, Southwest, Bloomberg.
It’s easy to see the RAP of others. It’s often way more difficult (and painful) to see your own.
Here’s a bit more on how you create your own RAP:
• Your corporate and personal philosophy guides your words, actions and deeds. Your philosophy is comprised of the principles by which you live. Beyond your mission, it’s how you help others and how you live your core values.
• Create a culture of camaraderie and support, communication and truthful information, service and response, and availability and helpfulness. Culture is your long-term essence — your spirit. Look at all the companies I listed under “good RAP.” They all have amazing internal cultures. Not a coincidence.
• Treat your people right, and they will treat your customers beyond your expectations.
Reputation, attraction and profit are the three words that define your business in the minds, responses, posts and actions (including purchases) of your customers and prospects. Now that you know the words, their definitions and their impact, it may be time to do a review, both internal and on Google. Identify your RAP, define it, and make whatever positive changes are necessary to build it.
Your RAP is out there. The question is: What are you doing about it?
Editor’s note: Jeffrey Gitomer is on sabbatical. This column originally appeared in the March 10, 2014, Business Journal.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 books. His “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling” is available as a book and an online course at gitomerVT.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or email Jeffrey personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.