“Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery."
— Dr. Joyce Brothers
It’s February, and your significant other has been telling you what he or she wants for months. That’s basically your key to creating a relevant experience on Valentine’s Day and making your partner feel special — and it all hinges on whether you’ve been listening.
Great relationships (with our significant others and our customers) require continuous listening, picking up on hints, and being engaged with how the other person’s needs change over time. For example, I usually give my wife flowers, jewelry and clothes on Valentine’s Days. But this year is different: We recently had our second child, and she deserves a break. So, I’ve hired a babysitter and booked a room at her favorite local getaway so she can enjoy some well-deserved relaxation.
The same listening principles that can make or break your Valentine’s Day can also make or break your relationships with your customers. That’s why smart marketers always:
1. Focus on relationships: You can’t deliver the value your customers truly want unless you get to know them, drill into understanding their challenges and needs, and respond in the ways they prefer.
2. Keep the conversation going: Just as my wife’s idea of what constitutes a fantastic Valentine’s Day is a little different this year, what your customers want changes over time. That’s why it’s important to keep checking in, asking questions, and listening to them.
3. Anticipate needs: My wife didn’t need to tell me exactly what she wants for Valentine’s Day. Because I pay attention to what’s going on in her life every day — or at least try to — I have a better feel for what will make her happy this year. Similarly, when you really listen to your clients, you’ll know exactly what they want — often before they do.
Great relationships (both personal and professional) are based on knowledge, which you only get by listening. If you don’t know what your Valentine wants this year, or what your customers really want, it’s time to close your mouth and open your ears. The funny thing is that as soon as you start doing this, everybody gets what they want.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I’ll explore time-tested listening principles that are at the core of good relationships and excellent marketing.
1) Blog: “Talk Less, Listen More: The Key to Truly Understanding Your Customers”
2) Video: “Gary Vaynerchuk on Targeted Social Content”
3) White Paper: “Creating Real-Time Individualized Campaigns Around Every Imaginable Buyer Behavior