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Speaker, Author, and CEO Encourages Relationship-Minded Business Interactions
Originally from Augusta, Maine, Chris moved to Massachusetts midway through his high school career. He started publishing online in 1998 and has been involved in online communities since long before that.
Chris has over 12 years experience in social media, having started blogging back in 1998, when it was called “journaling.”
He has since gone on to work with several Fortune 500 companies on understanding how to implement actionable content marketing and social media projects for their businesses.
Chris is a professional speaker, a New York Times bestselling author, and has worked with numerous companies to help with marketing, business strategy, communications, and more.
Chris is releasing a new book on October 25th with Julien Smith called “The Impact Equation,” about helping businesses and organizations find a way to be heard above the noise. You can pre-order Chris’ latest book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, 800-CEO-Read and at independent stores.
1. Chris, you are teaching businesses how to mix high-tech with high touch by emphasizing that people want to do business with other people, not with corporations.
What inspired you to get into this business? Was there a defining moment for you?
I’d say there wasn’t one single defining moment, but rather, a deluge of experiences where companies were stressing transactions over relationships, short term gains over long term growth, and automation and industrialization of contact/service over concierge-class quality.
Companies need to realize that a relationship, a genuine pairing between buyer and company, is worth far more money than a quick hit to the bottom line in a single quarter.
2. How has social media impacted business relationships?
This question is tricky, because I would say that if you asked many large corporations to characterize what they think about social media, precious few would really answer with positivity and clarity of mission.
Alan Mulally of Ford definitely would say positive things about it. Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi knows, and Dell founder/CEO Michael Dell knows, too. But for all those shining stars (and I could’ve kept naming them), I’ve met with several top corporate execs who see the tools as a nuisance and as a complaint delivery system.
How has it impacted businesses? I’d say that it has provided a rich set of tools to open up the opportunity of a much more relationship-minded culture and a wealth of new sales channel activity.
3. Have you used public relations to build your own business? Can you tell us where you’ve been featured and how you were able to get the publicity coverage?
Do you mean have I hired a PR professional? No, not at all. Everything I do comes organically through word-of-mouth, a great network of allies who think of me when it makes sense, and a lot of social proof.
I don’t have a bias against PR professionals and have been fortunate enough to keynote the PRSA once, and visit several agencies across the world, but it’s not how I designed my business to succeed.
If I were to redesign PR, it would be to have the agency manage media training, content marketing education, and to educate end customers on the absolute value of PR knowledge.
4. You have published several books and you say that a book is the best business card a person can have. Tell us what you mean by that.
David Maister, co-author of the amazing (and still very pertinent) book “The Trusted Advisor,” said the book is the best $25 business card you can’t buy. What I mean is that instead of handing someone a cardboard rectangle, when people read my book, they reach out and ask to do business with me.
My book, “Trust Agents,” didn’t make me a ton of money via the publishing royalties, even though it was a New York Times bestselling book. But over the last three years, I have been well over a million (maybe two) dollars in company revenue based on its success.