I was at my Pilates course the other day and we were talking about the flu that is really bad lately. Yeah, yeah! Bunch of 50+ ladies talking at 9 in the morning! What else can we talk about when everybody around us is crashing like crazy with the flu. Anyway…
During the conversation, I noticed that everytime someone was saying something, there was a lady who was responding with answers that were a bit out of topic…I started watching her and realized that she was not really listening to us, she was preparing her answer halfway through and waiting for the pause to say what popped her mind.
That reminded me of myself when I was a teenager. I was so afraid to talk in front of the class that I had all answers ready to whatever question I would get and I was so scared that I never really listened to the question and was whispering the wrong answer, although I knew the right one.
But I don’t think that the lady at the Pilates course was stressed out or afraid that she would loose it (like much younger me). No, I think that this is a habit that we have. We hear but we don’t listen because we want to show that we are intelligent and we just need an answer as soon as the person in front of us stops talking…so while the person talks, we prepare our answer…and therefore, we don’t listen to half of what the person said.
I did that for so long until I was forced to listen by my kids! Yes my kids. When she was 6-7 years old, my daughter was always complaining that I was always saying no before she was done with her sentence (and that’s true, I did that). Plus, because at the time, my son was not talking at 3-4, I was putting words in his mouth! So I was not listening! And that was bad!
I had to start listening in order for my son to start talking. So when he started with 1-2 words in a row, I was encouraging him to continue and not putting words to his mouth (that would’ve been damaging, according to the speech therapist). So by starting to listen to my son, I started to listen to my daughter and I started to listen to my family and my employees!
The shift was amazing for me. By listening to people, I learned so much more about them….because I was actively listening to them, I could have a real discussion with them, not a discussion with myself as I used to have before. How enlightening!
That new ability to listen made me a more open and a better person.
I know that it is difficult to listen to people but it is vital if you want your business to flourish…since this relates to business after all.
Yes vital! You have to start listening to your prospects/customers. Start having a relationship with them because that’s what they are asking for. Your prospects/customers have now the power to turn off your switch and go to someone else by the click of their mouse.
As network marketers we have to change the way we approach our prospects/customers. As I said above, they are in more control now than they have ever been in the past and yet we as network marketers treat them all the same. We “blast” email. We show everyone the same display ad. We don’t always coordinate the messages either. Display might say one thing, while our email says something completely different. Our mobile message might even be different than the previous two.
You see where I am going with this.
This is where the relationships comes onboard. Network marketers who are not jumping on the train now are going to be late to the party…that’s if they even make it to the party!
Lets break down some key components of a prospect/customer relationship. In any relationship, there is a give and take. Providing value and listening are key components of any relationship. Listening is extremely important. If we spend the time to listen, we can better understand the needs of our customer.
You have to realize, however, that these needs are always changing. What’s needed or wanted today is not the same for tomorrow. In digital marketing, listening to the behaviors of our customers can give us great insight to how we might want to communicate to them in the future. I’ve seen over 5X increase in revenue per message over campaigns using “in-market” data over preferences.
If we as network marketers continue to focus on the merchandising and promotional calendar that we are used to, we will miss the subtleties of what the customer needs from us today. Right now, we aren’t listening, we are talking at them. From a branding and marketing standpoint we used to approach marketing with a campaign perspective (we are going to promote X, tell everyone). But this has changed. We can’t continue to speak to the customer in generalities. We have to treat them as if we were in a relationship (listen to their needs and respond accordingly).
What the customer actually wants from us takes precedence over what we may want to promote to them. We have to provide them value. We have to show them we are listening. We need to show them we are attuned to their needs and what’s in their best interest. Moving to a relationship approach has proven valuable at driving higher revenue per customer.
Listen to your customers and you’ll build a great relationship and a great business!