When someone thinks that you are listening to them, their interest in you increases and you immediately strengthen the relationship. Think back to your dating days. When you showed interest by asking question about the other person and then listened and responded to what you heard – wow.
The listening and acknowledging, makes the other person happier and that’s a good thing.
“take the time to listen before jumping into the conversation”
In business, we start with data gathering. This is followed by analysis and then communication. This process makes the communication stronger and more relevant. Listening or data gathering is the start of that process. Whether you are online, in a social group or face-to-face, take the time to listen before jumping into the conversation. Acknowledging to your customers that you are listening can endure you to them. Listening is difficult for some of us – the mantra is “just be patient”.
You can listen to what your customers or potential customers are saying about you and your competition and you can listen when they are talking about you or your brand. This can be done through free listening tools such as Social Mention, Facebook search, or TweetBeep. You can also get more of what you need through tools such as Radian6 and Sysomos. Remember to search for competitors as well as your brand and terms and words that your customers would use.
“listening should be more than 50% of your communication process”
By not listening, you may be encouraging your customers and prospects to go to your competitors who are listening and responding to their needs. My belief is that listening should be more than 50% of your communication process and you should never stop listening so you can refine your skills for better results.
Who would you rather buy from, a company that publicly listens to its customers or a company that seemingly ignores them?
By listening the other person will think you are interested. By listening first, your communication will become more relevant. Both points lead to a stronger relationship where you are more likely to meet your objectives.
Conduct Twitter, Facebook and YouTube searches for your company, brand, competitors, product, and services. Collect the data on what people are saying and then use it. Before you communicate or talk be sure to listen, and once you start talk, never stop listening. Also, remember to listen in the less obvious places.