It’s completely baffling why many small business owners are such poor representatives of their own companies, often to its detriment. Conventional wisdom says the owner is the best spokesman for the business; no one cares about it and its success as much as he does. After all, he’s put the money, sweat equity and time into making it a success. Right?
Wrong, he commonly hasn’t learned the lesson — you’re the face of the business, be a good one. “Learned the lesson” is the important take away, because the ability to effectively promote your business is an acquired skill. We aren’t born with the skills needed to successfully market ourselves and our businesses. Stop being your own worst advertisement; you can learn to do better and here are 3 good places to start.
Learn to listen
Very few people have the natural talent to be a good listener, and your probably not one of them. Good listeners are rare and people who have this skill are perceived as capable, well-informed, smart and trustworthy. If you’re seen this way then, via the halo effect, your business’s culture will be too.
Learn to ask good questions
This is the companion to learning to listen. One of the fastest ways to develop rapport with someone is to ask them questions, not talk to or at them. The ability to ask good, open ended questions conveys interest in the other person’s opinions, needs and wants — everything you want people to associate with your business.
Learn to give a great elevator speech
Delivering a great elevator speech is a difficult talent to master. You want to communicate who you (and your business) are, what you do and why it’s important in a very short time. Commonly, people who are uncomfortable with elevator speeches appear too overbearing and “salesmanish” or apologetic and meek. They also can be confusing and uninteresting. None of these impressions are ones you want associated with your company.
Becoming the positive, accomplished face of your business takes the willingness to learn and practice. Yes, you have to get out of your comfort zone, but the alternative — sabotaging your own hard work — is ridiculous. A final bonus (incentive) is that these skills are applicable anytime, anywhere. Once you’ve become good at them, they’ll also improve your personal relationships.