Active Listening – Do you have your listening ears on?
I was a very busy kid and because of this, I often didn’t “hear” my parents’ instructions. My dad was always saying to me “Do you have your listening ears on?” It was a tricky little question that always caused me to pause. I obviously still had ears, but was I using them for what they were designed for…listening?
Did you ever get amped up for a test or a project in school and start working without listening to the teacher’s instruction, only to later find out that the only way to earn full credit was to use a blue pen…and you were using a pencil? The blue pen, or other similar tactic, is a teaching tool and #LifeLesson that many educators use to reinforce the importance of not only listening to instruction, but working more efficiently by taking care to have all information needed to do the job right the first time.
This lesson can apply to the busy marketer as well. Having been a marketing director at a company for many years, I get it. You have a list of a million things to get done – and everything is on a tight deadline. You are grind everyday to get them done. My dad always used to say “work smarter not harder.” Slow down. Listen to your customers first. How do you even know what they want or need to hear if you don’t ask them? (Unless, of course, you are a Green Martian with telepathic superpowers and can read minds.) Active listening is not just a life lesson for student trying to pass the class. It is also an invaluable tool for for brands trying to reach their audience.
How can you use your listening ears?
- Ask. Do a marketing survey. If needed, offer an incentive for the participants’ time, such as 10% off their next purchase or a Starbucks gift card.
- ONLY ask what you NEED to know. While you have their attention, respect your participants’ time. Limit the number of questions ten or less. AND make them good ones. Ask questions that help you solve problems.
- It doesn’t have to be hard. The questions can be answered through a simple conversation. Ask questions online, on the phone or over a cup of coffee or offline – it doesn’t matter – just ask and collect the responses.
- What are others saying about you? Monitor conversations to see what others are saying about you. Sort through the noise, pick out the actionable facts that can be addressed. You will have your super fans and haters. Listen to them all to discover the real truth.
- Use it or lose it! Once you have the answers to your questions, use the information to drive the conversation. Create content that builds customer relationships to use in your next marketing campaign.
Active listening will help you do more with less. Having the answers will take the guesswork out of what your target audience needs and wants from you. If you do it right, you won’t spend any more of your time asking, “can you hear me now?” If you need help framing the questions or monitoring what others are saying about you, give us a call we would love to help spark the solutions to help you reach your audience where they are at.