25% efficiency. While most people agree that listening is a very important skill, most don’t take the time to improve their own skill set. We might focus on the mechanics such as nodding or eye contact, but a truly good listener goes beyond that.
Since the purpose of marketing and advertising is to influence peoples’ perceptions and behavior, good listening should be at the forefront of business skills to master.
Why Listening is Important
Most companies try to listen to their customers as they are invested in their customer’s satisfaction. But are they understanding their customers?
Listening is more than the ability to hear what people say. It’s about being curious and contemplating someone’s desires and motivations. Empathy plays a huge role here. In order to truly get a grasp of what your customers want, you need to able to put yourself in their shoes and be able to narrow down their incentives. Recognize that your customer has human feeling and emotions.
This capability is essential for marketing professionals who want to create messages people will notice, like, care about and remember when making a purchasing decision.
You can notice the ones that miss the mark. The ads feel strained or fake or the message fails to engage the audience.
Don’t let an ad fail due to simple miscommunication. Listen with full attention and implement your ability to understand.
Listening contributes to a personal connection between you and your customer. It also creates openness. If you are focused on listening to your customer instead of speaking as much as you can, there will be room for new ideas and brainstorming. Their authentic brand or ideas will be able to shine through.
So what is your next step?
Here is a list of 10 Tips for Being a Better Listener by Gianfanga Marketing Strategy that we found particularly helpful, and hopefully you will too:
1. Take the time. Marketing is a fast-paced business and there’s huge pressure to create campaigns and strategies quickly. But if you really want to succeed, you need to build in the time and budget up front to gather input from the client, customer, and prospect
2. Listen to the right people. Talk with the people you’re actually targeting with marketing – customers and prospects – not just your marketing colleagues or people like you.
3. Learn the lingo. If you want prospects to relate to your marketing messages, you need to know the terms and phrases they use when talking about their needs and your product.
4. Delve deeper. Go beyond the obvious questions (“Are you satisfied with our product or service?”) to more probing queries that help you understand the motivations that drive behavior. Make questions open-ended so people can use their own words.
5. Feel the emotion. How do people feel about your company and themselves when they use the products or services you provide? Do they feel confident, happy, pretty, smart, safe? Listen for the emotions underlying the purchasing decision.
6. Listen with your eyes and ears. People reveal a great deal with their body language when they talk. They lean in, make direct eye contact, and use their hands to emphasize their points. Watch carefully and notice the details; see what makes their eyes light up.
7. Don’t be judgmental. Be impartial and neutral when listening. Remove your own biases. It’s not about what you think – it’s about what they think.
8. Avoid stereotypes. Don’t assume you know what someone is thinking because they are young, old, male, female, married, single, a high school dropout, or a Ph.D. Making assumptions based on stereotypes or demographics is a common mistake.
9. Take careful notes. Relying on your memory can be dangerous, even if you’re under 30. It’s too easy to remember what you think someone said, not what they actually said. Record and transcribe the discussions. Focus groups always should be recorded for the marketing team.
10. Reflect on what you’ve heard. Think about the totality of the discussion afterward. What was the customer or prospect really telling you? What stands out most in your mind? What do they truly care about? This is what you need to know to create marketing campaigns and content that engage people on a human level.]]>