By Evan Vitale
Forbes Magazine recently published an interesting article in which they offered the best-ever tip on how every business can grow.
Listen to your customers. Listen to your clients. Listen to your prospects, your sales people, your accountant, banker and attorney. It’s amazing what business owners will learn if they would only listen.
When you hear your customers and clients asking for products and services that you don’t currently offer, you should pay attention and give it some serious consideration. Is this a growth opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up?
When customers like you, they will talk to you. They will tell you how your products and services are helping them solve a problem, but they will also ask you questions such as “do you know where I can buy such-and-such product?” or “I read about a company in Chicago that’s starting a new service. Did you hear about this? I wonder if someone here (hint hint) would offer that service)?”
When your customers talk, then need to have your undivided attention. This is true when speaking with them over the phone.
It’s easy to tell when someone is multi-taking while talking (i.e., surfing the internet, typing, sorting papers, eating food, drinking coffee, etc.). Not only is this behavior rude, but it’s also unprofessional. If a client came to your office and had a face-to-face meeting, you certainly wouldn’t be surfing the internet during your discussion. The same should go true when talking to a customer on the phone.
Once your customer has spoken – and hopefully you have listened to what they are telling you – now it’s your turn to respond.
Acknowledge what they are talking about. Follow-up with questions about the topic, product, service, etc. Keep the conversation going and offer to do a follow-up with your customer.
In addition, you can “listen” to your customers and prospects by participating in social media. Here, “conversations” take place every day as people are constantly looking for someone to help them solve problems, answer questions and make suggestions.