Listening in marketing- kind of sounds like a weird data trend, right? After all, marketing businesses is more about broadcast than listening, right? Marketing is that big brave “yo, here’s my totally bad arse product and message- come get some!” idea.
Listening is that gentle little butterfly in a big stream of conversation. It’s delicate and gentle and associated with compassion and thoughtful gazes.
Marketing businesses is about noise, not silence.
But if no one is listening, what is the point?
To be listened to is infinitely delightful and life affirming. It makes any person feel special and valued. That is the kind of feeling you want to give to your customers, right?
Here’s a few reasons why listening when marketing businesses works.
Listening means you give a crap
We all have the ability to talk, but very few exercise the ability to listen. We can be slightly forgiven. All people want to be heard.
And you don’t have to agree with someone to listen. Heck, you might not even really care on a deep level. However, you can give a response that makes a customer feel heard, even if what they hear from you isn’t positive.
You can try this with the LAER model.
Listen to what the customer has to say
Acknowledge they have a concern (legit or not, it doesn’t matter. We all like to feel validated)
Explore the situation – so ask for extra details, try to get a sense of them, look for underlying issues that may be influencing their behaviour
Respond – not react. Let the response fit a positive version of events.
If you want to show someone you are listening, even during a crisis time, sum up the LAER elements and offer a solution.
Half the battle with a customer is helping them understand you care about how they feel. By responding in a way that makes them feel acknowledged and liked, you show a human side that goes beyond the sales cycle.
Oh, and it also works on friends, partners and the occasional Labrador, too.
It’s exhausting repeating yourself
Nothing is more wasteful of another person’s time than making them repeat themselves. You can understand when there is a lot of stuff going on. Or in a training situation and new things are being learnt.
But expect a diminished relationship over time if you consistently ask your customers or business associates to justify their position or reaffirm what they need. People can sense it when you’re not listening and they translate it into you not caring. Or that you’re attempting to weaken their resolve.
In a business context, persistence in this manner only serves to exhaust your customer’s trust and fill them with doubt. It makes you look at best, clueless. And at worst, it could make you look downright manipulative and egotistical.
They’ll start to be really annoyed at you. They may even give up and move on.
They certainly won’t say nice things about you. Or give you any more money or credit.
Smart business is about growing trust so you can get repeat business and word of mouth. You want them to stay connected and doubt-free. So don’t exhaust their joy, foster it!
Pay attention. It really is the little things that people notice the most.
Listening in business means respect
If life were a poker game then not listening would be a huge ‘tell’.
Failing to hear someone means you don’t value the other person or their ideas and contributions. And any thinking, feeling person can only cop such rudeness for so long.
Sound harsh? Think of it this way:
We remember what delights and enchants us. The facts and figures, new ideas and brand new concepts we like make a strong impression. If we like it, our brain captures it. If we’re not that sold, we don’t. Just ask any maths hating high school kid how much they remember come exam time!
So if you’re asking someone to repeat themselves or continually bringing up the same tired point that they exasperatedly answer again, you can bet your bottom dollar they don’t have much love for you.
And nobody wants to be someone else’s equivalent of an unloved quadratic equation, right?
Listening is what propels us forth
Customers feel appreciated when we listen. It drives them forth to do more for your brand, to share it with their friends, and to actively participate in the building of trust.
You learn so much about customers when you listen. You find out how they are tracking with your products, what new ones they may be interested in, and get to cut through the haze of what truly keeps them coming back for more.
Think of listening as a form research. And just like any form of research, you also need to know when the information and data received is a worthwhile incorporation to the mix.
But even when we say no to an idea or find that the data we receive doesn’t fit into the bigger picture, listening gives us a gift.
And that gift is the ability to calmly, rationally and fruitfully connect with our customers.
On the strength of that, listening has to be the best marketing campaign for customer retention you can think of. Don’t you agree?
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