Marketing is a two-way street
Can you remember a time when you talked to someone and they just did not get the point you wanted to make? Can you feel the frustration of not getting your idea across? What was your reaction? Did you draw back and stop the conversation? Did you feel like a failure? Did your point seem wrong? Did you start explaining it from a different angle?
Or ……. Did you start asking more questions and listening to the other person? Did you make an effort to get their point? Did that change something in the conversation? Did the other person start asking questions, too? Maybe you noticed that your points were actually not that opposite at all, just using different words?
I am often surprised to find how close two sides of an argument are when I drop wanting to get my point across and open up to understanding the other person’s view.
The same concept applies to marketing. Marketing is a two-way communication. This includes speaking and listening. The listening part is far more important, because what we offer is for our clients. It is to satisfy their needs. So in a way, marketing is not about getting our point across, but understanding their point of view.
In most cases business ideas are born from what we like doing. That is great, because it means that we are following our passion. Then we start offering our services (be it through talking about it or implementing a marketing campaign). Sometimes, it is an instant success; usually, there is a slow start.
The slow start is the same as not getting a point across in a conversation. It does not necessarily mean that what you offer is not wanted, it just means that you have not connected with your conversation partner (your clients). And the best way to connect is to listen and to learn from the feedback you get.
Where you are successful, the listening is just as important. In the buzz of everything happening, it is easy to miss the small unsaid things. It is listening to these subtle messages that create long-term success.
Listening has two parts to it. Actively asking questions is one part, the other part is understanding what is not being said. That is a lot harder but very worthwhile, especially when there are few clients to answer questions.
There is also the listening to our inner voice. It is often quiet, but contributes deep truths. It might just come out in feelings, usually when something does not seem quite right, but we do not know exactly what it is. Or really loud when we are excited about something.
An easy and effective way to listen is to watch your own reactions. Step into your clients’ shoes and be a client of some other people who offer a similar service to yourself. How does that feel? Do you enjoy being a client or do you have to force yourself to do it? Do you feel that the service is not necessary for you? Do you feel you cannot afford it? Does it feel uncomfortable how they sell themselves? Would you like more guidance from them on how to be a client? If they have any offers, how do they make you feel? Are there things about how they deliver the service that attract you or deter you?
This will give you an insight into the clients’ perspective of the service that you are offering.
It is also good to find someone who supports you in your listening, someone to give you feedback on your insights, someone who supports you in listening more closely, someone who opens new questions.
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