“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know.
But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
Dalai Lama XIV
We seem to be losing an important social and business skill of asking questions and it’s costing your social life and your business big!
Since the advent of the technology age and social media creeping more and more into our daily activities, so much so that now we have physiological labels given to the different ways it affect us all.
We are very much in danger of losing our basic social skills that we need to get by and prosper every day.
Remember in Elementary/Primary school when during English lessons we given a map and the teacher called you up to explain to a class mate how to get to the center of town, or to the Museum to teach us how to give directions to other members of the public? Seems defunct now that almost everyone has GPS.
When I get asked directions to my office I often get interrupted when I want to tell younger people;
“We are right next to the Black Bull pub you can’t miss it”, they ignore my directions and insist on the post code. I wonder; what happens when you phone battery dies? It could happen you know!
There will only be us middle aged people who will become the leaders in a post-apocalypse world simply because we can climb trees, read a paper map, add up without a calculator and we are able to tune an AM/FM radio!
“The wise old Owl lived in an Oak, the more he learned the less he spoke.”
When I was delivered my first laptop PC circa 1998 for my job I was so excited at the possibilities of what the Internet could do for business, yet 20 years later the Internet sadly has become a place where we try to shout louder than a market trader to be heard above all the other stall holders selling the same things.
It has become a sellers Internet, with thousands of business trying to use S.E.O. and lead generation to help you to be heard above all the noise and get the top spots on Search engines.
I really hoped it would become a buyer’s market where it was all about people asking to find suppliers for what they need.
Everyone’s Selling shovels!
A man is hungry, he goes to the market, and he is offered a shovel to dig the land, then to bury the seed, to water each day and then wait for the plant to produce vegetables to cook and eat. Or does he want to buy a hot pie to eat straight away? know your customer!
Lead generation is a massive and thriving business, but it so often falls short of the end goal of delivering a customer, so we should ask; why are business owners are just swallowing it as part of the ineffective process?
Good sales people sweep us up in the ‘possibilities’ of getting wealthy through lead generation activities like S.E.O. and S.E.M., database management, event management companies selling stalls and trade shows etc. etc.
Lead generation is so firmly indoctrinated into our society, we feel it’s just part of what we have to do, yet I am on a mission to educate business owners that lead generation is not always necessary and we give people warm qualified sales leads direct, yet so many are so buried in lead generation, it comes as a complete shock, people don’t believe I am offering genuine leads.
It’s a bit like a genuine Nigerian man who has $5 million and needs your account to deposit and will give you 40% just for the use of your bank account, he can never find anyone because the scam is so saturated now.
Chris Gardner asked the question that changed his life forever as portrayed by Will Smith in the movie Pursuit of Happyness (stet)
So how do we find our leads, you ask? Well it is back to the age old social grace of asking the right questions, that and reciprocation together.
We created a business directory in 2012 and now we have 6000+ members, we share all our new members to our social media reach for free which drives traffic back to them and develops their brand.
Then, when we called them, they were happy to speak to us as they knew we were helping with branding and online marketing for them.
When we asked the question; what are you buying right now? they are always happy to tell us the B2B and B2C products and services they are wanting to buy for themselves and for their business, we are actually saving them tie finding suppliers!
We are now in ten countries and over 5,000 members have taken full advantage of our website traffic and social media reach and they also love the fact that we publish our sales leads for all to see.
We have also lost the skill of asking for a testimonials when our clients are happy.
With video readily available on your phone, you could just ask then to tell you on the phone video what they liked about your business, and then you could add that to your site and social media, it becomes a highly valuable and free way to give a third party stamp of approval for your business.
What about asking your happy clients if they know of anyone of their friends or colleagues who could benefit from your services, and would they make the introduction?
This was a staple for business in the 80’s and 90’s but in this day and age people have gotten shy, and find it so hard to ask now.
Mores the pity, it was and still is one of the best ways to grow your business. If they say no, so what, what have you lost? A couple of breaths?
At a networking event; you are speaking to someone and they have no need for your own services right now, why not ask the question; “What are you looking for maybe I know someone who can help?”
So I ask you; what are you afraid of? Go out there and ask and better questions.
The question you should be asking me, if you are a smart business owner is: