A Rapper Reveals the Value of Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone — The Same Applies to You and Social Media

My wife and I recently took our son to see Macklemore…you know, the rapper. Never in a million years did I think I would listen to rap music for more than 5 seconds — let alone 3 hours, but we decided to surprise him for his birthday.

I regretted the decision the moment we walked into the arena. I couldn’t understand one lyric in the opening act – the rapping was way too fast. I struggled to get into the music – there wasn’t a repeating chorus. I couldn’t relate to the rapper’s songs or stories – the bass drum and beat-box overpowered the vocals. I wanted to leave!

Then, Macklemore took the stage and my attitude (tune) changed. His music told stories, which I could understand and appreciate. His songs had choruses, which were memorable and easy to sing along with. He blended rap and traditional pop music, which created a unique and energizing sound. I started to get into it!

Be willing to step out of your comfort zone

Looking back, I’m glad I stuck it out. Not only was the concert entertaining, but it also reminded me that it’s good to step out of your comfort zone every now and then to appreciate new things in life; to grow as an individual; and to continue to learn.

As an advisor, that’s an equally important lesson, especially if you’re looking to build your practice, apply new sales techniques or adopt new technologies. It may also mean opening yourself up to the social media revolution that’s in front of you.

Accept social media (and feedback) and use it to your advantage

For that to happen, you need to get comfortable with feedback – both positive and negative. That may be a stretch for some advisors, as I hear you’re staying on the sidelines because you’re afraid of what ‘someone might say’ about you. If you’re in this camp, consider this:

1)   Negative things are already being said about you – let’s face it, you can’t please everyone. There are clients you’ve upset, clients you’ve burned bridges with and clients you recommended products to that didn’t fulfill their expectations. That’s life. You can’t control what others say, so stop trying. By avoiding social media, you’re containing negative feedback to some degree, but you’re also containing the positive feedback!

2)    Feedback can help you if you’re willing to listen and adapt – I receive feedback regularly as part of my job, and I’m guessing you do too. The thing I like about feedback is that it tells me how I’m doing. Knowing where I stand helps me adjust my future behavior. You can do the same if you’re willing to listen and adjust. But there’s a another compelling reason — studies show that  companies that listen to their customers are 18 times more likely to increase customer satisfaction, and 44.5 times more likely to increase customer retention.

3)    Social media gives you a chance to respond – that’s right, social media offers you a platform to not only receive feedback, but also respond to it. If someone posts something negative about you, you can choose to respond – either publicly or privately. What’s more, if your clients complain, then see you’ve fixed the problem, they are 8 percent more loyal1 than clients who didn’t even have a problem in the first place.

Social media is an effective and efficient way to grow your business

There may not be a more cost effective or efficient way to gain feedback than via social media. So instead of hiding from social media (and feedback), learn how to leverage it to help you:

  • Increase client satisfaction and/or retention;
  • Foster positive brand awareness; and
  • Increase brand loyalty.

By doing so, you may realize that stepping out of your comfort zone can be worth it, just like I did. Thanks to my son, I now listen regularly to Macklemore.

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from it? What other reasons do you have for not using social media? Do you have a social media success story? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter.

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For more information, check me out on Twitter, where I regularly share social media tips, advice, trends and more, including how to build your business with social. Follow me at @jonferchen.

1According to an ezinearticle.com, February 11, 2011.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company, member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.

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