Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Social Media or Social Intelligence?

Most businesses now appreciate that not having a 'digital footprint' - i.e. a strong personal presence or brand on the web - is no longer an option.

Not only is it important for your company to be well positioned and connected online but we as individuals and professionals must be too. 

In 2006 the Harvard Business Review published an article indicating that the 'buying cycle' now preceded the 'selling cycle'. In other words in the past the market was dependent on sales professionals and business advisers 'bringing the message' about their products and services to the market and so starting 'the buying cycle'.

However with the growth of the Internet the customer or client now has control over who he or she decides to contact to discuss their needs with - after they have researched their needs on the Web first. So now they initiate 'the sales cycle'. 

Therefore by failing to have an excellent online presence you may be missing the opportunity of even being considered as a potential provider. Hence the focus on social media.

However once you do have contact from the potential client then everything depends on your level of 'social intelligence' and I do not see very high levels of this in business at all.

There is a great deal of emphasis on technical intelligence but the capacity to create 'high value and high trust relationships' is at best poor. In the 1980's Howard Gardner proposed the concept of mutiple intelligences in the human mind - including interpersonal (or social) intelligence and intrapersonal (or emotional) intelligence.

In many businesses - and particularly professional services there still remains a heavy emphasis on technical intelligence where advisers assume that the level of their technical knowledge will 'see them through'. Not so however.

Now more than ever there is a greater emphasis on an adviser's (or entrepreneur, sales professional, business owner's) social intelligence or interpersonal skills (what were once patronisingly referred to as 'soft skills' as if they had no importance) to build close and deep rapport quickly.

Where rapport is missing, trust is absent and no investment will be made or business relationship created.

Successful social intelligence skills however can be learned and there is now an economic imperative for all members of a team that are client-facing and have a revenue-generating responsibility to get up-to-speed quickly in the critical field of business development..

To learn many of these skills check out my book 'The High Trust Adviser: How to Build High Trust and High Profits in Business Today'  and see what today's top advisers and 'socially intelligent' business owners are using to gain the competitive edge in business today.

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