No matter how long we are in business or marketing we can always use a primer on listening. The best sales accountants are great listeners. They have learned to wait in conversations with clients and allow for that awkward silence in conversations because it is there where the client/customer reveals their greatest need.
If you are just baiting at the breath to give your elevator pitch you have misread the optics. 9/10 times a client will reveal something to you that you didn’t know if you just listen. You’ve got your pitch and ideas memorized from countless previous presentations, even if you do personalize your work for every client. However, listen for what’s new, different, or unanticipated by you from the client.
When you hear something new validate and confirm it. Ask them to repeat what they just said and use listening skills to confirm that’s what they want. You will be miles ahead by simply listening.
The agency representative that doesn’t listen to a client risks offering them what they aren’t seeking or don’t want. By using critical listening skills we can hone in on exactly what they want. Yes, you’ve got to offer wise counsel based on your expertise, but if the client is beating the doors down over Google Ads, or SEO you better pay attention to what they are saying.
Listening takes a lot of work and concentration. We have to resist the temptation to offer a pitch or have all the answers. The truth is that we don’t have any answers for the client until we hear what they want and need. Listening is an art. Some people are great listeners professionally and personally. Others listen at work but have trouble listening with their family. You have to cultivate listening skills. It isn’t a natural or inherent skill. You have to work at it and use confirmation, affirmation, and clarification to make sure you are not only hearing, but listening to what people say.
It’s long been said that listening is a two-way street. But it’s more than that. If the client’s representative is NOT listening it’s a one-way street, and countless agencies have lost the business of good clients because they didn’t listen. Until you confirm exactly what the client or customer is saying you are not listening. Granted, their approach may be wrong, or innocently misguided, but you’ve got to confirm that your listening before you will be heard in offering solutions.
Listening means you come with a heart for the client and what they want to achieve or what they have been missing in their marketing efforts. Listening really involves empathy, putting yourself in their shoes. Because when you wear your clients shoes you are best suited to make the most informed decisions about what they should do in regard to their digital marketing efforts. Don’t ever assume what the client needs. Yes, have a plan in mind after you’ve done your due diligence in researching their site, social media and competition, but be flexible enough to make changes based on what you hear them saying.
Too may clients have been burned by digital marketing agencies making empty promises that go unfulfilled. Plugging in widgets to fulfill a marketing plan that is not based on client input and desires is a disaster. Treat each client individually. What works for one client may not be the best suit for another client. Listen and learn how to tailor the marketing plan for their specific wants, needs, and service or products.
Every family, marriage, business and sales representative can benefit from honing their listening skills. You may or may not get the sale, but if you really listen you will be separated from the rest of the pack!
At WebSpeak Media we work hard to listen to our clients and identify their needs and wants. We customize every website, SEO, and social media strategy to their specific needs.
Monty Carter, Storyteller
Greer, SC 29651