Monday, October 5, 2015

I Didn’t Want To "Talk With You” ... But Rather Have You Listening To My Story.

"I didn't mean to talk with you."
Yes, even as it looks a little odd, this post’s title is the response I got from a person on LinkedIn after I asked her to please not continuing to send me messages which were solely intended to promote and sell her professional services.

My communication read: "Unfortunately, I'll have to ask you not to include me when sending this kind of messages. I hope you’ll understand. If we are going to talk, let's talk, but not this way."

And, for better or worse (it will always depend on the person making use of the tool, of course), LinkedIn and other social networks allow you to compose a message and send it simultaneously to several of your contacts, being this just the initial incentive to “spamming” people, and by that I mean sending any kind of message to a lot of your contacts, even if they haven’t so requested.

And since I never concentrate on the person who did things, but rather on what the situation was, what we can learn from it and how we can make it better, I think this kind of response merely demonstrates that, although over the last few years we’ve been talking about relevant content, value exchange and two-way conversations, we can’t deny our invasive nature and our tendency to be "spammers". It really defeats us!

We love to sneak through any crack we are offered to invade other people’s space and even more so when we believe they might represent a business opportunity for us, and obviously it ain’t right.

And I don’t mean the fact itself of finding any possible way the person you're interested in pay you some attention. No. Anyone who needs to sell something or to share something that is considered relevant, will do the same thing.

If you don’t want to talk to me, what makes you think I’d want to talk with you?

The problem is on the manners: Saying "I didn’t want to talk with you" basically means your conversation will be flowing from only one side: yours. And then adding: "I just wanted to have you listening to my story" clearly indicates you’re not interested at all in the other party involved in the conversation, and that's not then a dialogue but a monologue.

If you do not want to listen to your interlocutor, how do you expect them to want to listen to you?

Unfortunately it’s this the way many companies are managing communication with their followers and fans in social media and many other spaces.

Instead of a dialogue, they maintain a monologue concentrated on them, their product offering and, in the best cases, content they’re distributing, although this content might not always be relevant to the community receiving it.

How do you expect to get to know your client, if you don’t give them the opportunity to share their story?

In different posts throughout this blog, in all spaces in which I’ve had the opportunity to bring it up, and during my consulting sessions, I've put all the emphasis I can on the need to maintain two-ways conversations with our market, with our community.

And the reason for this is quite unique: The only possible way for you to get to know your market in depth and detail, is by carefully listening to everything your market has to say through all available channels existing today, digital and offline.

Only by listening carefully to your community you’ll discover their actual needs, understand their concerns, the way they live and buy, how they make decisions, and thus you’ll be able to communicate with them more effectively.

Only an arrogant entrepreneur denies his client the opportunity to express itself.

Keeping in mind I’ve told you the problem is not sneaking in to capture your interlocutor’s attention, but in the way you use to make it, I do have to say that, from my point of view, behind this way of doing things a large dose of arrogance on your side comes to the surface. You can name it “corporate” arrogance, (if you want it to sound nice) or entrepreneur’s arrogance.

Regardless of what name you choose for it, you’re an arrogant if your attitude towards the market is not that of a humble person who understands your business’ success is driven by money in the pockets of the person sitting on the other side of the table: your customers.

As longs as you don’t realize customers who buy from you are the lifeblood of your business, you'll be driving your business backwards.

Business nowadays operate very differently. It’s no longer you or your business who dominates the conversation with customers, because there are hundreds (if not thousands) of companies in your market, which have product similar or identical to yours, and they are also playing on the same game.

Now your customer have access to a lot of information related to their needs and with the products supposed to (or aimed to) fulfilling them. And it often happens without you, or your company, knowing about it.

So it’s necessary you put aside your old mentality, and then focus your efforts on developing nutritious and two-ways interactions with the people and companies you consider represent, or could represent, an interesting opportunity for your business.

If you don’t do so, unfortunately you’ll get the silence of your community as a reward and won’t have any relationships being developed with them.

Is that what you want for yourself or your business?

Photo credit: brunobarillari | See portfolio

I recommend you reading the following posts on this blog:
Are you listening? But…. really?
Social Media: How to destroy a relationship in less than 24 hours.

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