Opening your ears to customers

Are you tuning out your customers? (photo by

B2b marketers spend millions on brands, and yet a great deal of business messages don’t seem to take into account what people are really buying, what they’re interested in hearing

and what they already think of a brand. Unfortunately for the marketers behind them, these types of messages amount to little more than companies telling themselves how great they are.

The land of me, myself and I

In fact, at this very moment, thousands of business marketers all over the planet are devising sophisticated strategies to tell prospects all the things they (the marketers) want them (the prospects) to know about their (the marketers) products. That doesn’t matter much. What matters is what the customers and prospects think. Because they own the brands. They control information, communication and the purchase process. And most importantly, they make the buying decisions.

Shifting the focus outward

Paying closer attention to customer values doesn’t have to be complex. It all comes down to listening and coming to terms with the fact that you might not have all the answers, don’t always know what is going to work best and sometimes could benefit greatly by taking cues from outside of yourself and your company. When you open up your thinking in this way, you will hear be able to hear more clearly what customers and prospects are saying and be able to put out a message that connects with them more effectively.

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself often that will help ensure you are really listening as you work with customers and prospects:

  • What are customers’ biggest and most immediate needs? Why would they be looking to you and your message at this time? It sounds simple, but it can be easy to lose touch with that fundamental part of a relationship or potential relationship with a customer
  • Where do customers want their businesses to be in the future? How do they expect you’ll help them get there?
  • How do customers view their businesses? Oftentimes this is very different from the way you have come to view them, and also different from the way you view your own business

Shifting the focus from looking inward to truly listening and paying attention to customers and prospects can go a long way to greater success for your brand and business as a whole.

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