I used to sell radio advertising. Yes, I sold air. What I loved most about selling radio was meeting the business owners and decision makers and hearing their stories. I enjoyed learning about their history of their organization, why they do what they do, what they love most and what keeps them up at night. I asked a lot of questions and took a lot of notes. I learned to sit back and let them tell their story. You know the saying that “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason” don’t you? I learned how to listen and how body language plays a part in being an active listener.
My parents owned their own business in a small town while I was growing up, so I have a soft spot for the small, locally owned businesses. I love working with and learning from all types of businesses, but I can understand an empathize most with a small business. I appreciate what you do every day, how you need to be able to pivot at any moment in time and be an expert at everything related to business. Honestly, as technology becomes more of a player, it’s getting harder to be an expert at all aspects of your business. Say you own a boutique, you understand fashion, accessorizing, styles and trends and merchandising. You may not understand how to run a website, how to manage social media, use QuickBooks, know which POS system will work best and integrate with your website and what marketing should you be doing to grow your business.
Consultants and advisors should always be listening more than they are talking. They should also not be offering solutions until they have understood the challenges. You should be walking right next to each other, not pushing and pulling each other through the process. Communication is so important. You shouldn’t have to keep emailing or calling to see what is happening. You are busy with the day-to-day operations of your business. Make sure you communicate the best way for them to contact you, whether it’s email, text, phone call or some other method. Set up dates for follow up and stick to those dates. If you have nothing new to report, then say that, but at least each of you will know where you’re at in the process. Trust your gut. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Ask questions to clarify and don’t be afraid to say no or ask to go in a different direction.
Building trust is so important and is a direct result of building that relationship. You can’t work with someone you don’t trust, just like you shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone you don’t trust. Make sure whoever you are trusting to work with you in or on your business treats your business like it’s their own and works to understand what’s important to you, what your goals are and what you consider to be your biggest challenges.
Relationship building is my jam. Learning about organizations and the people that make them work makes me excited to go to work every day. I work with people in a wide variety of industries and learning about these industries has kept me on my toes. I am learning something every day. That is one of the best parts about helping a business grow. I look forward to learning something about your business and your industry soon.