We’ve all heard the quote from the Greek philosopher Epictetus, "we were born with two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we speak."
I doubt Epictetus was a marketing consultant, but it is not a stretch to apply his wisdom to our efforts. Marketers have a tendency to "talk" a lot. After all, we have a lot to say. We have features to point out. Benefits to reference. Special pricing to announce. Nothing wrong with any of that.
But we also need to listen.
How do we listen to our marketplace? Try some of these on for size:
- Client satisfaction survey
- Client needs assessments
- Attend industry trade shows
- Monitor blogs for mentions of your company and your competitors
- Read trade publications
- The old-fashioned suggestion box
- Google yourself/company
Along with those effective methods, there are also more direct and immediate ways to actively listen. After you’ve completed a project or delivered your product, why not just pick up the phone and call? Ask for their impressions. Find out if you surprised them in any way (good or bad) and what they expected the experience or product usage to be like. Imagine how you would feel if you received that kind of call. Appreciated? Special? Is that the kind of call you’re likely to talk about? You bet.
A word of caution. Do not try to sell anything during this call. This is about listening, remember?
If you commit to listening more, you will glean insights that change the way you do business and you’ll see a spike in sales as a result. Guaranteed.
How are you going to improve your listening this month?
~ Are you really listening?
~ Listen and respond (Marketing Lesson from Walt)
~ Listen up
One of my earliest lessons in sales came from Tom Hopkins (www.tomhopkins.com) and it was to shut up, listen and respond with specific solutions to the problems and opportunities voiced by the potential client/buyer.
Later, when I joined a direct agency, I was constantly berated for being quiet in meetings with prospective clients…until I helped bring on half a dozen new accounts in about 3 months.
The reason I succeeded where my co-workers failed? I didn’t walk in and do the capabilities presentation – I walked in and asked “What is your greatest opportunity and what is your greatest challenge?”
Then I shut up and listened.
We personally call every one of our customers back (unless they request otherwise) to ask how things went. There’s no sale. No plug for the next time. No mention of products or services. Just a friendly inquiry to make sure everything went alright. The (free!) feedback from this is incredible.
It’s amazing how much you can learn when you show people that you care and that you’re truly willing to listen.