There are moments where listen patiently to someone who is up on their soap box determined to have everyone from Seattle to San Diego hear their negative perspective on social media and I am delighted. Why am I delighted about sharing a conversation with someone who opposes one of my favorite ways of marketing? How can I be excited to hear this person out?
First off, if you haven’t run into someone with a long list of reasons why they don’t believe in, want to deal with or even like social media, you will. However, I believe any conversation can be an opportunity to learn and build great relationships.
98.7% of the time it isn’t personal. Being timid or taking offense don’t help anyone.
So there I am, listening to this individual passionately explain their position and what do I do?
I am an active listener. I focus on hearing these individuals concerns and ask questions to clarify without interjecting any of my interpretations. I am carefully attentive to details and trying to “Hear the meaning within the word.” – William Shakespeare.
#2 Be Respectful
Watching my own body language and trying to be aware of my tone sets up the environment to show that I genuinely care, I am actively listening and not just waiting for an opportunity to blurt out my own ideas.
#3 Ask Questions
Most of the hesitation with social media is around ROI, privacy, control, maintained cost and inability to measure. So I ask questions to drive the conversation and flip these concerns into questions. The best conversations I have had is when we can actively move towards focusing on the bigger picture goals by exploring business objectives.
Repeating back someone’s concerns, objectives and visionary goals makes anyone feel appreciated. Nice to have confirmation that you were listened to, respected and also got a chance to add further details to the situation.
#5 Offer Insight
By this time the conversation has flipped from listening to a soap box speech to sharing a conversation over coffee. This is the perfect time to offer insight on how social media can meet their objectives and work within the constraints of their concerns. Demonstrating tracking and basic first steps to get acquainted with using social media as a vehicle to reach their goals.
In most cases these steps shift the conversation away from talking about the obstacles with social media and moves to the larger picture of the obstacles of marketing, customer engagement, lead generation and understanding user behavior. The best part about these conversations is that, for me, I get to be a sort of customer service representative there to listen, learn and offer solutions. The response is typically similar to offering fresh brownies out of the oven and with a scope of Tillamook Vanilla bean ice cream on top.