It’s so much easier to tell your client what you’re thinking than listen to their thoughts. After all, you’re the one who knows how to best manage their brand, right?
Maybe. But probably not.
No matter your level of knowledge, it’s crucial to become a master listener – especially during client meetings. And don’t forget about client phone calls, strategy meetings, and idea generating sessions. Basically, if your client is speaking, or you’re speaking on behalf of your client, it’s time to listen up.
- Have conversations. Real ones that make room for back-and-forth exchanges of ideas and reactions, savoring all the information gleaned. This is the good stuff.
- Absorb what your client is telling you. Don’t interrupt. When they’ve finished making their points, ask more questions. They know their business better than anyone, but they need you to tell their story so everyone else can know their business better than any competitor’s. Impatience, especially when simultaneously considering billable hours, is a real information-blocker.
- Ask questions. Better yet, ask questions that begin with “If I’m hearing you correctly, you’re telling me…”
- Don’t tell them you’re listening – show them. Do the work and employ the ideas you both took the time to discuss.
- Feedback is your friend. Even negative feedback is instructional, guiding, and vital for growth, so make sure to listen even more intently when it appears. (Because it will appear.) And remember: In any client relationship, it takes twelve positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience – the key word being unresolved.
- Stay far ahead of your client in social listening. Pay attention to conversations that aren’t even about your client, and extract insights about brand new influences and leads. The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
- It’s not about you. But it is totally about what you and your client can create together.
Did you know that an overwhelming majority of clients leave because of a perceived attitude of indifference? So communicate clearly, be responsive, and listen hard. You may have heard what they’re telling you a thousand times before, but it’s fresh to them.
It’s been said that listening is being able to be changed by the other person, and we agree. At The Found Gen, our clients’ stories constantly reconfigure how we view the world. We love traveling alongside them.
If you ever need someone to listen to your brand’s story, we’re all ears.