Over the past 5 years, working for myself has helped me with my people skills. Lets face it, there is no B2B, B2C or person to internet – people do business with other people.
I think this notion is emphasised more when you work for yourself. You’re on the front line and if you don’t have people skills then you don’t have a business (for long..)
I think back to just before I started ‘what if people don’t think I know what I am talking about?’ To eventually becoming, ‘I like talking to you but I can’t identify with you.’ And now it’s ‘I can find common ground with you and I view you as important, lets talk more.’
Finding common ground and viewing others as important are two of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt so far. They form the basis for everything.
I’ve got clients from ages 20 to 75 and are all from different walks of life. That common ground and ‘importance’ perspective is ultimately what gets their signature on the dotted line.
Some would say their business and your service is the common ground but actually that’s a tiny part of it. I’ve found from working with small businesses, that they like to get to know you – what makes you tick – what your cats called – even your favourite food!
All of these things help to build up a picture of you and makes it far easier for them to hand over their pride and joy (their business.)
Take today for instance, I had a meeting with someone who wants me to do some social media work for them. They were unable to verbally explain their business to me, so instead showed me.
The company deals with Shropshire Tours, specifically history tours. In my head, it was an hour in a coffee house. In reality it turned out as a half day tour around Shrewsbury.
The whole experience did three things for me:
a) I got to see a whole new side of somewhere I go to often but don’t know much about. And I’m even more in love with the place.
b) I got to witness my client’s passion as well as helping them to formulate and expand on their own ideas. This really helps when it comes to creating content.
c) But mostly importantly, it allowed me work on my people skills, find that common ground, and build some genuine rapport which makes the work relationship more likely to last. It was also a chance for them to get to know me and see how and if I fitted into their business.
I’m happy to report I got the role plus a mini project out of it.
I often read articles about time management and how to ‘manage’ your client bases. But I find these lack the mention of how clients are humans and not just another £ in your bank account. I appreciate we can’t do this for every client (not all require it) but it’s nice to make extra effort.
It really does make for good business and for being a good human being.
What are your rules (in general) for being a good human being?
Chelsea – Louise