Are You Listening?

Relevancy is a brand’s currency. It constantly needs to be recalibrated, otherwise a popular brand can be rejected by customers overnight. How a business is branded and perceived by the general public is no longer solely up to the business owner.

Recently I read an article about business leadership that resonated. It speaks directly to the real meaning of a “brand”, which is the image of a company in the eyes of its customers and prospects, and how communication impacts brand perceptions. Yes, what people say about you is as important as any branding campaign or tagline and we all have to stop sometimes and make sure we are listening.

Are you listeningEssentially, your customers tell you what your brand is, and it’s up to you to listen and understand the word-of-mouth in the market place, the experiences your customers are sharing. Are they the same as your vision?

Ag marketers, this is the perfect time to be listening. When was the last time you sat beside your customer as they planted, or walked fields with your customer, or stood in their office and really listened?

The power of listening starts with all of us being good communicators and connecting with our customers, and then asking the right questions. Remember, ask the question you need the answer to. Know what you are seeking to understand when you are engaging with a customer.

Pose the right questions to your customers, and they’re going to be happy to share their experiences with your brand. There’s a real science to listening well and getting people to open up.

  • Put your cell phone away and focus on the customer. Sending one text message while you’re supposed to be listening sends the wrong message to your customer. You may have heard what they said, but likely you’re not concentrating on them at that moment. Don’t multi-task.
  • Don’t interrupt. This is a sign that you’re not listening. If you’ve gotten them to open up, let them talk. Guide them with good questions when they stop.
  • Don’t listen only to find problems. If they do mention something that your product could help them solve, make a note of it and come back to it another time. This visit is not about selling. It’s about listening. When you start selling, they’ll likely stop talking.
  • Paraphrase points that they make. When you put their points in your own terms and repeat them back for clarification, they will get more of a feeling that you are in fact listening.

When you really listen, you have the opportunity to verify the word-of-mouth and experiences your customers are sharing. As marketers we have to ask ourselves, does our brand experience match up with our vision?

At Beck Ag, we listen every day. We help develop the questions marketers want the answers to and help marketers understand and craft word-of-mouth and experiences shared in the market place. If you’d like to know more, contact me at info@beckag.com.

 

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