This economy is made for anyone who is passionate about what they do, the business they promote or the service they offer. This is a Trust & Value Economy — an economy that  has consumers desperately looking for and seeking out services they trust, products that have value, and people with whom they can connect.

In fact, this economy is all about connection — emotional connection. The better you are able to understand and relate to your customer the more successful you are going to be — period!

Are you ready, are you prepared? Have you made the changes to your sales and marketing strategy that you need to make? According to Gary Vaynerchuck (author of ‘Crush It’ and ‘The Thank You Economy’) our grandparents are actually better prepared to succeed in this economy than we are. Wow! Why? Because they did business in a time when it was all about building relationships and making connections. They understood their customer and they understood their market. They wrote the book on how to engage, build trust and add value. Now it is  time for us to get it out and start reading.

Somewhere in the last decade, the importance of soft skills slipped away, replaced with assertive techniques, pushy sales, and persistent follow-up. Well, luckily for both our customers and ourselves, the arts of conversation, relationship and connection are back. They’re back and they’re working.

If you want to succeed in this new economy, if you want to make this YOUR economy,  then you need to take a second look at your sales techniques, your marketing approach and your customer’s experience. You need to make sure it is rooted in emotional connection, engagement, trust and value.

You need to ensure it includes the 3 Must-Have Strategies for 2012:

1. Pull, Don’t Push  – Ask yourself: are you pushing your customers to buy or are you pulling them to learn more about your product or service? Your business growth strategy needs to be built around your ability to pull your customer in rather than pushing them to make a decision. In a shifting economy, with heavy competition, you need to understand the consumer is in control. You can do a lot to influence their decision, but since they are inundated with choices, the decision to buy remains theirs. You push, you lose; you pull, you gain a customer for life.

2. Blend, Don’t Separate – In today’s economy 14% of consumers trust traditional advertising; 78% trust peer recommendations. While you can design, develop and shape your brand, you cannot dictate the customer experience. If you want to succeed in today’s economy then you need to blend, not separate your traditional and social advertising. You need to make people aware of who you are and what you do via traditional channels, but you need to engage, connect and build trust through social networks and forums.  You need to invite people to experience, share and comment about your company and give them the ability to define and draw others into the value of your brand.

3. Niche, Don’t Expand – While we all realize the economy has changed, do we really realize just how much it has changed? Consumers are different now — they want to be sure of what they are buying, believe in the person they are buying from, and they want to verify and validate their choice. They are looking for experts. While our gut reaction is to offer anything to anyone willing to buy, the truth is the more we narrow our focus, the more our market will expand.  To be successful, we need to define our niche, decide what we want to be known for and who we really want to serve. The better we focus our niche, the better we can define our brand; the more we engage our target market, the more we create trust and value for our customers.

Yes, the market has changed and so have the rules. This is an economy for people who wear their values on their sleeve, and who are filled with passion and caring for their customers. Understand that, and you’ll realize this is YOUR economy – Now Go Out and Get It!