Small talk is a lost skill among young people. Nowhere is this more evident than in the business world, among young entrepreneurs. Instead of enjoying it, they avoid getting to know their clients on a personal level. They’re always in a rush, or at least try to make it appear as though they are. It’s probably another thing we can blame on social media and 140 character responses. The lack of quality small talk in the business world is a symptom of our ADD society that prefers to communicate from behind a computer screen.

Young entrepreneurs would rather instant message than meet face to face. They say it’s more efficient, but they’re clueless. They don’t understand the value in playing the long game.

Loyalty is lacking in the business world because of the fact that people no longer can small talk well.

I’m generalizing here, but for good reason…

Business decorum among Millennials is terrible. Although there are a ton of amazing business people of Millennial-age, most are poor at building rapport.  Results need to be instant with Millennials, resulting in an entrepreneurial culture, it seems, of ‘how can I get what I need, fast.’ This way of conducting oneself in business (the shortest path to achieving the goal) runs in contrast to long-term successful entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs find out how they can make people’s lives better – they then make a profit doing so. They ‘get to know’ their clients by, you guessed it, small talk.

Particularly in the tech industry, I find the younger entrepreneurs’ approach to business disastrous. By ignoring small talk and personal dialogue with a prospective new client, they’re shooting themselves in the foot over the long-term.  You see, without building that connection, without the small talk, clients will simply view dealing with you as a transaction – resulting in zero loyalty, lackluster retention and missed recurring revenue opportunities over the long-term. Remember, it’s a lot harder, and a lot less profitable, to acquire a new client than it is to retain an old one… high retention rates lead to big margins.

Did you know that a client who bought one item from you has a 27% chance of purchasing something else from you in the future? If they buy twice, that return purchase percentage increases to 45%, and then 54% once they purchase a third item. This is why brand loyalty is so incredibly important in business. It’s also why companies with high retention rates (such as Facebook, Under Armour and Ford) receive higher valuations than most of their peers. And loyalty comes from personal connections. This is why, my friend, small talk is big talk in business. Small talk, for all the tech geeks, is ‘sticky.’

Stay hungry,
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Aaron

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