Social skills and small business marketing

I think we all know that social skills are important in our lives but not everyone has them. That is a problem for small business owners lacking in this area unless they are geeks with a must-have app. Most of us get business from talking to people, whether it is in our store or shop and perhaps at our counter, or maybe it is at face-to-face networking events or on-line.

The guy who tries to sell all the time by in-your-face tactics at the local breakfast networking meeting or who spams his on-line network on LinkedIn or elsewhere has no social skills. He doesn’t understand how other people feel when they are harassed about a product they are not interested in, or even unfortunately made a tentative enquiry about to their later regret. The woman who follows you relentlessly to sign up to her email marketing products is lacking in empathy with her potential market, which is ironic.

Despite all this I believe that if we know we are lacking in social skills we can adapt and learn them.

I have a sort of confession. I used to lack social skills, due to (I believe) having had a rough time at school. Even when I went out to work I was terribly shy and quiet as a church mouse, so although I was quite the opposite of “in your face” I found it hard to deal with people, which had a lasting effect on my life.

I learned to come out of my shell later and stand up for myself, and succeed in getting promoted at work, but it was a conscious effort to learn to deal with people; to listen to their needs and wants and to understand their perspectives. Listening is so important in our lives.

Later still in the big wide networking world I had to take another step and learn to speak in public without annoying anyone too severely. 🙂

It seems to me that a lot of people lose business because when we dislike their approach, we become prejudiced against their offering. Whether the more aggressive OTT marketers can be reformed in quite the same way as us church mice I don’t know, because they would need some insight and self-awareness, which in introverts is often a strong point.

I should hate to think that all the obnoxious pushy types networking out there are beyond redemption. Do you think that they can save themselves?

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