Tara Hunt translates this idea into real life in her book “The Whuffie Factor“: we are already entering an age where our “relationship capital” is just as important (or maybe more important?) than our financial capital. The more people respect you, trust you, and like you, the more they want to interact with you.
Tara suggests five principles to increase your Whuffie:
1. Stop talking, start listening: As she says, “turn the bullhorn around”. We have been conditioned by the thousands of marketing messages we absorb each day to think that the only way to communicate is by pitching. But one more pitch just gets lost in the din. Instead, start listening. Draw people into conversation. Find out what makes them tick, what they are worried, or dreaming about. This opens the way to building a connection.
2. Become part of the community you serve: You need to get “down and dirty”, to connect and to get involved with your community, your tribe. The interaction has to go beyond the commercial, and become personal. (This is where Tim Sanders‘ “Likeability Factor” comes into play)
3. Create amazing experiences: People already have too much stuff. What they now want, more than ever, is great experiences that build personal relationships.
4. Embrace the chaos: As Tara says, “people are not predictable”. Start with a vision of what you want to create, and then allow it to evolve and transform through the conversation and the community. You may find that you end up with something even greater than you could ever imagine!
5. Find your higher purpose: I especially love this point – it’s about putting purpose first, then the profit is generated out of how people appreciate who you express your purpose. Another way of looking at this, is as the “Givers Gain” principle.
It is tempting to look at your Facebook friend and Twitter follower counts as a measure of your Whuffie, but in reality it goes way beyond that: your Whuffie is the quality of the interaction with your network. What are you doing to be “nice, networked and notable”? What do you give? How do you inspire them (and how do they inspire you?) How do you engage them?
As you seek to get more and better clients, consider this question: What are you doing right now to help people create an experience of life that enables them to express their full potential? I believe that the more you focus on answering this question, the greater your Whuffie, and the more you will attract people who value who you are and what you offer, and therefore who are ready to commit to you.
For more information:
Must Read: Tara Hunt, “The Whuffie Factor” Amazon.com link (no affiliate): http://www.amazon.com/Whuffie-Factor-Social-Networks-Business/dp/0307409503
Cory Doctorow, “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” Amazon.com link (no affiliate): http://www.amazon.com/Down-Magic-Kingdom-Cory-Doctorow/dp/076530953X (Disclaimer – I have not read the novel, and I’m sure there is a lot more to the story than the one-sentence summary above, but it’s this specific concept that I want to expand on.)