I ran across a phrase the other day, social capital. Social capital is the network of relationships you have that can help bring revenue to your business. Most people mistake the people they know personally as their social capital, or the network they sell to. The best networkers understand that their social capital is not just the people they know, but found in who their network knows.
LinkedIn understood this concept and developed the website to prove it. It’s that 2nd and 3rd level of relationships that also need what you have to offer. And here’s there real kicker: people that like you want to help you! When someone likes you, they are more than willing to introduce you to the people they know.
Which brings us to the secret of popularity: people believing you are more interested in them than you are in yourself. It’s having the ability to understand them and keep your attention there.
In business, money is made and lost based on your ability to understands your customer’s needs. The most crucial skill needed to understand the people around you is the ability to ask the right questions. The second most crucial skill is the ability to shut up and listen! And by listen I mean you need to be able to understand what someone else means when they are talking.
How many opportunities are missed on a daily basis because the right questions weren’t asked? Even worse, you misunderstood the answer because you jumped to your agenda of selling a product or service, or allowed your fears to limit you?
What if there was a process in place that made you or your employees feel comfortable formulating and asking those questions? What if you and your employees had a process that increased the odds of understanding their responses?
What would it mean to your company in dollars if only 10% of your customers added one more service or purchased one more product you offer? If you take a few minutes and did the math you would be amazed at the answer.
It’s not about pushing product, but having a common process in place across your company or organization where people are comfortable having the conversations that dig deeper in order to understand more needs than the customer initially presented.
A great detective doesn’t just take detailed notes from those he’s interviewing. He also knows the right questions to ask to better understand what the witness saw. He knows what information he needs to solve the crime, so he asks those questions to determine if that witness saw those elements. He doesn’t force it, he simply asks.
It’s the same thing in service/selling. You know what solutions you offer, but your people need to know how to ask the right questions to determine if your products match your customer’s needs.
Capitalize on your social capital. Don’t have decent conversations with the people around you, learn to have meaningful conversations to better understand your clients and connect them with solutions you offer. If you don’t have a solution, help them find one that solves their problem.
By focusing on their needs over yours you become a partner in their journey to succeed, and will become a first phone call instead of an afterthought. So, use your network to benefit others and allow theirs to benefit you. Invest wisely, and invest daily. Don’t squander your social capital.
If you or your team needs a process or just some coaching to get you in the right direction, you can find us at http://www.JohnnyWalker.Co
Great article. Right on the money. So many companies are so focused on process that they miss the most important part of client facing, the connection. The way you can connect best is to be a great listener, ask the right questions and shut up.
Keep those articles coming!
Thank you, Ben. Although process is important you are right about too much focus there and not enough focus on the client can damage that business relationship.