The Gift of a Listening Ear
06 0

Posted by  in Appreciation Marketing

“If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” — Turkish proverb
One of the best ways to gain your clients’ confidence and keep them on your team is to listen to them. In our world of “in-your-face” marketing on every flat surface, and a continual bombardment of ideas and information flowing over us from every angle, the gift of a listening ear can make all the difference. This shouldn’t be set up as some kind of marketing ploy. Listening must be an authentic gift we offer to those around us.

Perhaps your business has gotten a little out of touch with your clients, and you’re not sure how to create a listening atmosphere from your current standpoint. The first step is to find a reason to get face-to-face. Instead of handing out an impersonal survey, invite some of your key clients out for coffee. You might also invite some of your not-so-key clients to find out what’s missing in their experience with you. Ask questions like

  • “How did you first hear about us?”
  • “When you first started looking for our services, what, specifically, were you looking for?
  • “Is there something specific, that helped you decide to purchase from us?”
  • “Did outsiders play a role in your decision-making process?”
  • “When thinking of our company, have you ever thought to yourself, ‘If only they would do ____________’?”
  • “How well is our business meeting your needs?”
  • “How well do we stack up against the competition?” (you might list some specific companies to help them along)
  • “Can you describe the reputation we have in the community?”
  • “Do you know of other ways/niches that we’ve not identified where our services might be needed?”
  • “How are we doing on the cost-for-value plane?”
  • “Describe the service you’re getting/how you’re using the product”

When listening to clients, here are some things that are important to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t stereotype the person you’re listening to. Give them the respect and freedom to tell you who they are.
  2. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t assume you know what they’re going to say. Be open to letting them surprise you
  3. Don’t spend your time thinking about what you’re going to say next. Truly listen to the person you’re with, and allow them the freedom to completely express their ideas.
  4. Encourage the conversation to focus mostly on your client. Don’t keep interrupting with all the wonderful things you have to offer. Hear the client fully, and keep tossing the ball back to their court.
  5. Ask open-ended questions like “Why do you feel that way?” “Can you tell me more about that?” “Why do you think that happened?” “How do you envision that taking place?”

Want more help? Here are some other great blog posts to check out:

How to Be a Good Listener: 16 steps
Better communication through better listening

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