Sometimes business owners argue that it’s all about personal relationships. Picking up the phone, having a coffee, going to dinner and just being ‘mates’ for a long, long time. This is a fact of life and I agree.

That said, here are other things you need to remember too:

1. Whatever the tipping point is when someone comes to you, what do they do first? 

The very first thing everyone does is look online. At your LinkedIn profile, at your website and by “googling” you. You know you have done it yourself. A bit of discrete research without having to talk to you directly – after all, they are after someone that can deliver.

2. When you look at the person’s ‘online’ real estate, you look for someone who is right.When looking at their website, you want to see a normal, well designed site. That’s a given. But you are also starting to engage to see if they, for example, have the same values.  If they are organised. Does there LinkedIn profile make sense.

3. It’s about being organised.

You are looking for someone who knows what they are doing. If the online brand is shoddy, then surely you reconsider them, even if you know them.

We are constantly evaluating and an online brand has become the best way to engage with someone discretely. To see where they are at and to start to build a relationship.

If these things are true, it becomes imperative that you manage this well. We think there are some minimum requirements:
1. A decent website (everyone knows that,) but now some others:-
2. A LinkedIn profile with activity (from your team too if possible.)
3. Emails that engage and inform, not just sell.
4. Content that helps – real relevant content that delights. You do that don’t you?

It’s complex and it’s simple. We think online branding is a must.

Next time you Google a “friend” who is a potential supplier, read an article they have written, and are evaluating them, please remember, your prospects are doing the same to you right now.

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Brendon is a driven business owner who looks for his teams to consistently delight their customers. He has started and developed a number of businesses that help companies and individuals get to grips with the global marketplace and the opportunities that come from a connected world.