The Lost Art of Conversation

The Lost Art of Conversation from http://jenfongspeaks.comReturning to blogging and social media after nearly a year has been an interesting exercise for me. I’ve been immersing myself in new social networks, while also putting more focus on the tried and true. And what has been so evident to me is how many people have adopted these networks for the exclusive purpose of marketing. It feels like the human element has been almost completely disregarded.

Before, there were at least some who enjoyed conversation. Saying hello. Getting to know you. There is such richness in discovering others. And if you don’t take the time to do so, your marketing completely revolves around you and your pitch. Maybe what some focus group told you is my priority. But clearly not what I really need.

I recently connected with some new folks on Twitter. I read every bio, looked at the streams, and connected with people whom I thought had some interesting things to say. And yet nearly every single one, as soon as I connected, either pitched me in the Twitter stream or via private message. Why on earth would I be interested in what you’re selling if I don’t even know you? It’s different when I’m in the market for something and reach out to you to buy. But in this situation? It’s a social network. How about we be social first?

What is becoming increasingly evident is how many people are in such a rush to jump the line. To skip that time-consuming getting to know you conversation, and jumping right into the pitch. And how very sad that is. Because you’re alienating people who might be very good customers. If you only took the time.

The best salespeople nurture within themselves an innate curiosity in those around them. What makes them tick? What is important to them? HOW CAN I SERVE? Serve is the key here. You cannot serve if you are constantly pitching. Because at that point, it’s about you, not me. And that doesn’t serve anyone.

I encourage you to block out some time each day for conversation. It can be in person or online. But talk to people. Ask questions. Discover. Make it your goal to find out 10 things about people that you didn’t know when you woke up.

The business will come. But you’re a lot more likely to get it if you rediscover that lost art of conversation.

Your thoughts? Please share them in the comments below.

Social Media for Social Media’s Sake is a Waste of Time

social network puzzleDo you Periscope? Blab? Instagram? Facebook? Tweet? Snapchat? YouTube? …

It seems like every day direct sellers and small business owners are being encouraged to be on the next big social network. It can start to feel like if you’re not posting, tweeting, snapchatting, live streaming, etc. all day, you are setting yourself up for failure.

But then how will you ever run your business?

The fact of the matter is that it’s not about being on every social network that’s out there. What matters is connecting with the right people, with a specific goal in mind. Social networks can help you do that. But you don’t have to be on all of them to be successful.

It makes a lot more sense, especially if you are a small business, to understand where you can reach a lot of potential customers. Perhaps it’s on Facebook, if Gen X or Boomers are your market. Perhaps it’s Snapchat or Instagram if you want to reach Millennials. And on and on. But think about where you can engage the right people in the limited amount of time that you have.

I volunteer with a local food pantry. One of our most powerful tools to reach the community is Facebook. When we need donations, we know that if we post photos of empty shelves in local community Facebook groups, and use the tagging feature in Facebook to alert community advocates, we can count on donations pouring in within hours. By understanding the features of the network you want to use, and how you can use them most effectively to reach the people you want to reach, you can gain the results you are looking for.

Remember, social media for the sake of social media is a waste of time. Your use should be guided by the results you are looking for (be specific!) And using one tool well where your potential customers are is a lot better than mediocre use of many tools. You have a lot to do. Make the most efficient use of your time possible.

What social media tools bring the best results for your business? How are you using them well? Would love to read about your experiences in the comments.

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