How to grow your business by actively listening.

Good communication and engagement is vital to any kind of growth in your business. Whether it is communication with staff, suppliers, current and potential clients, communication is critical.  Without it, your business simply will not grow.

However, what many small and large businesses forget is that communication is a two-way street. On the one side of the communication street is speaking or outbound communication.  There are countless articles, videos and training courses which teach non-verbal communication, tone of voice, the type of words to use in written communication and on the communication platforms available.

They generally focus on the ‘speaking’ side of the communication street, with all the tricks, tips and strategies that accompany outbound communication.

In fact, a quick search of Google returns 1.57 billion results!  And all of those results on pages 1 and 2 are focused on outbound or speaking communication.

Not one of them is focused on the more important and ‘other side of the street’ aspect of communication which is listening.  However, it is on the listening side where your business growth will actually come from.  It is when you actively listen to your clients, staff and the market, that you will get all the answers and ideas you need to drive new products and services, find pain points, understand challenges and determine the direction of your market before it even begins to happen.

Actively listening will put you ahead of the curve in your industry and of your competitors.

The skill of listening added to the skill of speaking is real communication and will lead to engagement and it is engagement which will result in the growth you want.

But how?  How do you elevate your listening skills and therefore your communication skills to create engagement and grow your business?

Here are three things you can do to actively listen to your clients, staff and the marketplace.

Social media
In spite of many peoples fears about social media, it continues to be an environment where your clients and prospects engage, share their thoughts, frustrations, challenges and go to find solutions for issues they may have in a business context.  We all know it is a very noisy place and it can be difficult to cut through all of the noise and nonsense but the value of the environment should never be under estimated.
You need, firstly, to have a clear understanding of what the clients look you are targeting ‘look like’ before you will be able to find the platform they engage on.
Secondly to design a strategy for finding the platforms that your clients and prospective clients are active on.  For example, if you are in the B2B space, you could start with LinkedIn.  Take the time to do your research as it may not be as obvious as you think.
As you connect with or follow your current and prospective clients, listen for the questions, challenges or frustrations they have with your products or services, your competitors products or services or the lack of solutions to a problem.
You can do this with programs like Hootsuite and monitor various hashtags or topics related to your industry. It will amaze you how much information you can glean about your markets needs, wants and pain points as well as about your competitors, by just listening in on social media.

Ask questions

Whether through face-to-face contact, online surveys or research organisations, ask bold and interesting questions which elicit an answer.

You can ask clients for feedback on products or services.  You could ask your staff to give you ideas to solve a particular problem without setting any guidelines for the solutions.  You could ask your market place for the frustrations they have with a particular product.

Try to keep your questions short while encouraging long and detailed answers.  You could, for example, base your questions on what you’ve heard on social media.

Ask your clients to tell their story. 

Most people like to be listened to and by asking them to tell their story they will feel you have really listened to them.

Their story does not have to include a reference to your business.  It does not have to be a great story but if it fits your ethos, you could publish it on your website with their permission.

You could use these stories to look for solutions to challenges which are raised.  They will feel and know that you have listened and you show a community interest.

So I have given you 3 ways in which you could actively listen to your clients, prospects, staff and your market place.  However, these are not the only things you can do and there may be variations on these themes.  Whatever methods of listening work in your environment, listening more than speaking, will lead to growth in your business.

The ability to listen will lead to engagement and engagement leads to business opportunities.

So now it is your turn.  Let me know how you listen to your clients, prospect, staff and your market.  It would be great to hear what you have learned and what engagement you have developed through listening.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Please Share This Post

Share this post with your business colleagues and friends!