The Power of Social Capital

The Power of Social Capital

People do business with those they know, like, and trust. In fact, they will drive further and spend more if they know they’ll be treated well.

Business owners focus a great deal of time, effort, and finances on how they can attract new customers and increase their profits. But, have you ever noticed that slick ads and marketing gimmicks alone do not generate long-term business success?

Eight-five percent of a person’s success in business is based on strong social skills, and only fifteen percent is based on technical ability. Being excellent in your craft will provide you with a necessary and important skill set, but being excellent in social skills will be the key to connecting you with the marketplace. This is the true essence of marketing.

Social capital is better than money in the bank, and it’s recession proof! Interestingly, we never really know how much we have in our social bank account until we need to make a withdrawal.

What is social capital?

Simply put, it is our relationships. Social capital is the relationships that we have with our vendors, our competitors, and our customers. It is through these relationships that valuable networks are formed where we can solve problems and generate business.

Social capital requires integrity

We must be people of our word. When I say I am going to do something, I must follow through. Warren Buffet said that it takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it. I must be the same person at home as I am in the office and at Wal-Mart.

Social capital requires that I develop an ability to work effectively with all types of people, from all types of backgrounds. The better I am at connecting with a variety of people, the more social capital I will create.

Six ways you can increase your social capital

  1. Maintain a positive attitude.
  2. Truly value your client – not just their money.
  3. Make it a priority to really “see” others by practicing the Art of Acknowledgment.
  4. Become a better listener. Learn to listen beyond their words to hear their heart. What is it that they need – not just what you want to give to them. Consider how you can help them meet that need.
  5. Look for ways to invest in others, and help them achieve their goals.
  6. Be consistent! Small, consistent, daily acts add up and make a difference.

What can you expect in return for your social investment?

Great wealth – a wealth that has the power to endure the storms of life. When you invest $1,000 in your bank, your return is limited to whatever the current interest rate may be. With social capital, however, your investment can mushroom far beyond what you can imagine.

Remember the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life? In that movie George Bailey realized the true secret of wealth was not in what he had tried to lock away in some bank, but rather it was what was released through the relationships he had created. He discovered, much to his surprise, that he was a very rich man.

One of the greatest examples I can think of regarding someone who created social wealth was a dear friend, Kim Tinkham. You couldn’t meet a person in Wise County who didn’t know her and who didn’t speak about her with the highest regard.

Kim welcomed every person she met with a huge smile, a warm handshake, and friendly hello. She was genuinely interested in you, and wanted to know how she could support you. Kim walked with integrity, kindness and compassion.

Kim and I spent countless hours over the years at Starbucks talking about these and other issues. One of her greatest desires was that everyone would become a mega-millionaire in social capital. She knew it has the power to carry you through the good times, as well as the challenging times, and – as a bonus- it’s tax free!

Let’s purpose to increase our social capital by investing in those we come in contact with so that at the end of this year we all can say we are social capital mega-millionaires!

Would you like to read more about the power of social capital? Read the first chapter in Etiquette Power by Mrs. King.

©2013 What Would Mrs King Do? If you would like to use this article in your newsletter or blog, you may do so. Please include our credit information: Written by Deborah King, What Would Mrs King Do? © Copyright 2013. I would also appreciate it if you would send us a copy for our files to [email protected].

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