“Sit down, Shut up, and Listen.” This was my 4th grade teachers favorite thing to say but she would tweak it to be sit don’t, SHHHHHHH, and Listen, it wasn’t until later in life when I heard it used again that I heard it used with more force and began to understand it for what it was worth. ”Take the cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth” this was one of the first lessons I learned when I started my business, and surprisingly it wasn’t from a business owner. Many times as business owners we want to show off our knowledge, and so we feel the need to have an answer for everything. This is great in the sense that it shows confidence in yourself, your product/service, and in your company, but as a business owner having the humility to accept that you do not know everything can show that you are way more knowledgeable than the one with all the answers. Lets face it, we don’t know everything, and being able to accept that and learn from others shows that we are smart enough to know that. It also invites people to see that you are open-minded which is something most consumers like. Every once in a while take a few days or even a week, where you keep your opinions and answers out of it, and just listen to others, you may learn something.
Read Between the Lines
We live in a society today where people get on any website and post their opinions about you or anyone else. There are 2 ways to look at this. 1 these comments are normally negative and to stay positive we ignore them, or 2 if you read between the lines, you see that these comments are giving you ways to run your business better. There are many times when everything you read is negative, and this can be demoralizing at times if you don’t look at it the right way. Even if comments where someone is just complaining and whining, you can see that obviously something went wrong with that persons experience with your business and give you an opportunity for improvement. When you start to see a pattern in negative comments, don’t look at it as something bad, look at it as a way to make yourself better, a way to change those comments into return customers. Customer Discovery is so easy to do these days due to site like Angies List, blogs, or even Facebook. Most people have no problem posting positive or negative comments about products they like or dislike. If you read them or listen to them, you will find ways to appeal to your customers better. If you don’t, someone else will.
If this word is not in your vocabulary already, then add it. Along with being able to listen and read between the lines, being able to ask why is really important. So say you are in one of your quiet days and you are listening to someone just bash your product/service, instead of instinctively ignoring the criticism, or trying to figure out the “between the lines” reason, just ask why? What happened that made the person so miserable? Then here is the kicker, after you ask, LISTEN! If you genuinely care about your business, then you need to genuinely care about your customers opinions. So do not ignore the criticism, do not forget the praises; listen when people tell you what they want, and don’t want. Most of the time if you show a true and genuine interest in someone’s wants and needs they will let you know, and then guess what. They have told you exactly what they want from your business, no guess work! This can reduce your guess work, lower your risk, and increase your customer base, why, because you listened, you interpreted the negativity, and you cared.