There are social barriers all around us. Race, gender, religion and many other factors separate us through our differences. In a very general sense, people are wired the same. I believe that barriers are caused by a lack of understanding and compassion.
If you are reading this, I don’t have to preach to you how social media has changed how we communicate today. This is the biggest culture shift mankind has probably ever seen – besides maybe the invention of the internet to begin with. I realized the other day that I don’t know that many of my neighbors. Why? Maybe it’s because they haven’t friended me on Facebook.
We have one neighbor that reached out to me last year, only because she didn’t like my children walking across her yard on the way to school. She wanted her “privacy”. I grew up walking across neighbors’ yards and the concept of not allowing someone to pass through was difficult for me to grab. Certainly, it’s her yard and I told her I’d instruct the children to take another route.
But then I thought, what if she knew my kids? They are pretty hard to say “no” to when they give you that puppy-dog face, trust me, I know! Is it because she hasn’t taken the time to know us? Does she just not like us? Does she really want her privacy or did she grow up in an area that it wasn’t acceptable to walk on someone else’s yard? What I do know: I didn’t have any common ground before speaking with her.
When you find common ground with someone, you now have context with that person. You can ask them how their son’s football game went last night or how that new puppy is doing. The reason I don’t know my neighbors is widely because 1.) I am stuck in my house working all day and 2.) because I don’t have common ground with them.
Isn’t this the same for business? You are more likely to land a deal with a client when the conversation starts off with common ground. When you break down the barriers between you and a prospective client, the conversation can continue to your sales pitch. This quite possibly could be the difference whether my neighbor lets my kids walk across her lawn or not and it could be the difference between a sale or no sale. If the person likes you, they will likely cave on their preemptive response.
Using social media can certainly assist you in finding more about your client. People make more information about themselves available than ever before. By using these tools, you can find common ground and break down the barriers that may halt your progress.