Many of the most excellent artisans, craft-persons, and self-starters have become masters of their field through hours of devoted study and years of honing their skills. For that very reason, many of them also lack some basic social skills. Some would be described as gruff, anti-social, or even rude- even though they may not have intended to come off as rude. Even courteous people in this category may be regarded as unfriendly or “a person of few words”. While the latter is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be for a small business owner.
We get it! You spend hours of your time providing immaculate service. In fact, it’s that work ethic that pushed you to build this company with your own two hands! So you have work to do. Right?
Well, small businesses are fed by local relationships. People’s first impression of you directly reflects on your business. This can determine whether they become a regular at your store, or go across the street to someone else. You must give them a reason to stay more than an excellent service or product alone.
Think about getting a massage. You walk into the parlor, and the masseuse is in a sour mood; whining about their selfish significant other and their tired hands. They sternly direct you to lay down, with a snappy tone and sigh in frustration the entire time that they massage you. Now, even if they gave you the most amazing massage you had ever had, you wouldn’t have noticed. You would take your physically relaxed- yet socially drained- self and your business elsewhere.
Even those of you who run e-commerce businesses from home still need to have some customer service skills. In order to bring in a profit, you will have to have conversations with real people at some point.
In order to develop relationships with passing customers that turn them into regular, you must do a little bit of socializing and networking. So here are a few tips on networking for the introverted self-starter.
- Prepare in advance- Sometimes the biggest hurdle for introverts to get talking is in their
head. Anxiety, discomfort, unsure about what to say. So it’s important to make yourself
aware of these feelings and to prepare yourself mentally for working on them.
- Research conversation starters- Since not knowing what to say can be a roadblock to
conversation before it even begins, it’s important to have a few small-talk options in
- Practice on someone you know- Practice makes perfect and talking is simply second
nature to some people, so find a chatty buddy and get some advice from them.
- Try to have conversations with at least 2 people a day- We aren’t saying to go tackle
every stranger on the street and talk their ear off. We aren’t even saying that you have to
have an in-depth conversation with every customer who walks through your door. Start
with two a day. Then they will spread the word to their friends, and so on. That organic
growth from natural, the friendly conversation will keep growing exponentially.
- Ask about them- No one cares about what you know until they know that you care. Get
to know something about them, and try to file it in your mind for the next time that they come in.
- Let them get to know you- A relationship is a two-way street- even a business
relationship. Before a person will commit to buying from you, they must trust you first.
Why should they believe you when you give them your pitch about your superior product
or service when they’ve heard the same talk from every crooked salesman and shady
business owner they’ve ever met? One way to get them to trust you a little is to make
yourself more familiar with them. Then over time, with quality customer service they will
come to trust your business greatly.
- Finally, seal the deal in a friendly manner- Send them out your door with a smile;
knowing that you are grateful for their business. To make a lasting impression you can
also give them an incentive like, “tell your friends and I’ll give you ___.” or “next time you
come in it’s on the house.”
In a fast-paced world with so many options for every decision, it is vital for a business owner to
make a great lasting impression to keep their customers coming back again, and again. With
these tips, you will be on the right track! For more tips and articles, subscribe to our newsletter below!