I’ve found that many companies have a tendency to focus so much on selling their product or service that they forget to listen to what their customers are telling them. The goal for any business is to make money, but that goal is more easily attained when you listen to your customers and know and understand what their needs are. In a previous tip I talked about understanding customers’ needs before developing a product. The best way to do that is by listening to what they tell you. More often than not, in the course of a conversation, a customer will divulge information that is vital to your overall success.
Listed below are some items to listen for while talking with a client:
What do they say their needs are? It sounds rather basic, but knowing what a customer needs is critical to closing any deal.
How do they talk about the services they’re using? What works, what doesn’t work for them, and why? The way a customer describes the service or product they’re using can tell you a lot about what they like and how your product can help them be more effective.
What are their personal and company goals? Understand that, and you can point out and explain how your product will help them.
Again, it sounds basic but try to listen to what your customers want—then deliver products or solutions that meet those needs. Doing so will help you build a relationship of trust that will solidify your standing with them and be a driving force for repeat business.
Founder and Chairman
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.