Do you need an effective marketing strategy to build your bottom line?
Try a proven method. Listen to your customers!
Don’t just take our word for it (although our marketing gurus here at Stingray Branding have plenty of experience to back up the claim). Studies show that the most important skill in marketing is not selling. It’s listening.
Do you know what your target audience really needs?
Do you pay attention to what your customers are saying when they talk to you?
Do you hear every single word?
Or do you tend to focus on what you’re going to say next? Do you interrupt your client while he’s talking? Maybe you tend to make assumptions about what your customer needs based on superficial, external information, like the clothes he wears?
Stop right there! Listen!
Focus on your target audience’s message. Not your own.
You put 100% of your effort into ensuring that every aspect of your product or service is the best it can be for your customers. After all, you developed your brand by paying attention to the needs of people around you, right? You were listening then. Your target audience knew you were paying attention. Your products and services told them you understood their pain. And they came running.
Don’t assume you still know what’s best for your client or customer. The product or service that worked yesterday may not fit her needs today.
Research shows that 50% of people listen only 25% of the time to what others are telling them. Sluggish sales aren’t necessarily a product of a downturn in the economy but, rather, a breakdown in communication between vendors and buyers.
Granted, with all the distractions in today’s digital age, it’s hard to stay focused on anything that anyone is saying. But, if you can turn off all the noise around you (including your own voice) and listen carefully to others, you just might hear a key piece of information you need to energize your business’ sales.
Don’t let complacency, self-congratulation or just pure busy-ness keep you from practicing your listening skills. Like muscles, listening skills need to be flexed regularly to stay strong.
Network to practice active listening skills.
Networking events can provide a perfect opportunity to practice active listening – and for you to find out just how effective focused attention can be. (The benefits of demonstrating good listening skills are especially evident at Charleston, SC networking events, as they are in other cities in the southeast U.S., where good manners often trump the closing of a sale).
First, try to relax. Remember, you are going to be listening, not talking! Find someone in the room whom you know casually — or even someone who looks approachable and start there. Introduce yourself. Then ask your new acquaintance a few casual questions: find out what she does for a living, what town he lives in, how she likes to spend her free time and so forth. When it’s time for you to talk about yourself and your business (briefly), you can gauge whether your new acquaintance might be interested in learning more about your product or service. If so, you can talk to her more about it at a later date! Don’t try to use the networking event as an opportunity to sell. It’s an opportunity to listen, learn…and exchange business cards.
Follow up to offer your services…..not make a sale.
Follow up on the connection(s) you made with an email, a phone call or an old-fashioned, hand-written note. Include any specific information or an anecdote that your new acquaintance may have shared with you, details that show you were really listening. Tell your new acquaintance (and potential new client/customer) how much you enjoyed meeting him. You can remind her about the solutions your business provides and offer to be of service should the need arise in the near future.
Listen to build a better relationship with your customer.
Marketing success is, after all, about building and maintaining solid business relationships. While business relationships (like any other bond) require hard work, the effort you make to demonstrate active listening often translates into increased sales and customer loyalty.
And you might even discover that you’re having fun!