It’s such an incredible time to be an entrepreneur. Have a great idea, get the right tools to build your brand, find success. It’s that easy, right?
Not so fast.
While a great idea and some smart tactics may help you quickly rise to even meteoric fame, the formula above isn’t one that’s followed by entrepreneurs who’ve found sustained success.
I am not talking about the quick buck artists who are here today and gone tomorrow. I’m talking about the Richard Bransons and Elon Musk’s of the world. Know what they have in common?
Strong social skills.
You may have caught this story about Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Just a few years ago, Uber wasn’t even on the radar for most people. Today, it’s a household name. Great idea. Excellent technology. But a leader who now admits he doesn’t have the social skills needed to best lead his team. In fact, Travis wrote in an email to his employees—after blowing up at an Uber driver—that he had to “grow up.” His lack of social skills has caused a major PR disaster.
Now, if you follow my blog, you know that I spend a lot of time talking about LinkedIn marketing and social selling. But I’m going to take a step back today and take a page from the entrepreneur playbook. I’ve been blessed with two seven figure businesses and even one eight figure business.
Along the way, I’ve met some incredible entrepreneurs whose social skills made them absolutely magnetic. I’ve also met some who were clearly brilliant, but missing that one thing—or more—to make them unforgettable and ultra successful. Speaking of which…
Be Unforgettable—for the Right Reasons
When I think about entrepreneurial social skills, there is one expert who truly comes to mind: The Art of Charm’s Jordan Harbinger. Who better to chime in on this piece and offer his insight? So I gave Jordan a call, and if you keep reading, you will be glad I did.
When it comes to social skills, many entrepreneurs are failing in three areas. Avoid them at all cost to stand out from the crowd and elevate your odds of success.
1. Wanting immediate success.
“Follow this formula and you’ll be an instant success like X.” This is a common theme among entrepreneurs today. As a result, many come in with unrealistic expectations for immediate success.
Immediate success would be great, right? For just about everyone?
Pushing for immediate success means that you will likely fail at the most critical social skills in business. It leads to the other two mistakes I talk about later in this article. I love how Jordan puts it, “When you focus on immediate success, you become transactional.”
I have never met a successful entrepreneur who focused solely on “transactions.” And when many new entrepreneurs are starting out, that’s exactly what they do.
Going a little deeper, Jordan points out that by focusing on transactions, “You get annoyed with people who won’t do business with you. You build transactional relationships which aren’t real relationships at all.”
Success as an entrepreneur requires patience and the willingness to invest in developing real relationships. In my experience, rarely, if ever, will real success stem from transactional relationships.
2. Focusing on “likes” and social media vanity metrics.
Some of you may not like this, but the fact is, building a social media following, adding influencer in your profile and getting likes and shares is not a business model.
Without a doubt, influencers, social media and content marketing can be great tools to build a business. Writing great content and putting that out to the world helps build awareness, drive traffic, and depending on your business, can play a big role in gaining new customers.
But too many entrepreneurs are focused on getting “likes” before they’ve actually put out something to like! Your first priority as an entrepreneur should be on creating a product or service that is truly excellent.
Jordan said it best during our call: “Work to be valuable. Don’t work on ‘curating.” Define who you are and why you’re different, and create a product that solves problems or makes life easier for your customers.
Then you can go out there and start marketing to prospects.
3. Pushing reciprocity.
It may sound idealistic or noble, but today’s top entrepreneurs give selflessly. Just look at Richard Branson. He doles out advice constantly via Twitter and his blog. Give to others without any expectations in return and you’re more likely to attract opportunities to you.
Some people consider me an influencer when it comes to social selling and LinkedIn marketing, mainly because I generated over $20-million in new business with those strategies. So I get solicited regularly by complete strangers to help them, and while I’d love to help everyone, there is just not enough time in a day.
Remember, real influencers are typically busy people, so you need to do something to stand out from the crowd. Be different. If your goal is to develop a relationship with an influencer in your niche, give without any expectation of reciprocation, and you will be shocked how often it pays dividends.
This is one cliche that can be powerfully true: give selflessly, and good things will happen.
When we dug into this area in our call, Jordan shared an incredible story about a dental emergency he was facing. He was getting nowhere trying to find a dentist in his area, so he put out a request on Facebook. A total stranger chimed in with a recommendation—one that ended up alleviating Jordan’s pain.
Afterward, this stranger mentioned he was a graphic designer, and, while not asking for a job, asked if he could send his portfolio. Jordan looked at it, but wasn’t in the market for a graphic designer. About a week later, someone called Jordan looking for a graphic designer.
Guess who he recommended?
The “total stranger” who gave selflessly ended up with a full-time job. And it never would have happened if he had pushed for reciprocity.
If you find yourself thinking “This person owes me,” in your entrepreneurial journey, you need to immediately banish the thought. Instead, think about what you can do to provide so much value that they wish they had 10 people like you working for them.
Bypass these common mistakes and visit Jordan at The Art of Charm to learn essential social skills. You’ll be in much better shape and on your way to building a foundation of success for your business.
Connect with me on Twitter at @askdennisbrown or take a minute to check out my blog where I publish regularly on LinkedIn marketing and social selling.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.