The best marketers are often the best listeners. If you don’t listen to your customers (and your prospective customers) how can you possibly understand how to market to them?

Marketers are often good people to deploy when a customer is having issues with your product or service. Because they do not have the history and potentially strained relationships that might exist between a client and their salesperson or account manager, they provide an ideal sounding board to let customers to let off steam.

Sometimes, you learn that customers’ get frustrated because they care. In my personal experience, airing these frustrations is often a pre-cursor to the client actually telling you how much they like your service and offering some great advice on how you further build your relationship with them.

But listening isn’t just about keeping quiet for a few minutes while your clients vent until they have finally calmed down. Neither is it agreeing with everything that is said. It’s about applying filters, considering what is relevant and what is not and then communicating an actionable plan that benefits both parties. Sometimes this might mean saying, “Sorry, I cannot help you with that”. It is better to turn an opportunity down than to let a customer down. It’s even better to find alternative solutions and maintain your relationships so that you can examine future opportunities further down the road.

I always try and include a significant portion of time to listening when I go out and meet my email marketing clients at iContact. I like to learn what makes their life difficult and how I can help them. I also like to learn what we do well and conversely how we can improve our service. Often, I learn something new that I can take to benefit other clients (although I always ask permission first).

But the best thing about listening is it gives me so much inspiration for blog posts like this.

In the spirit of listening, I’d like to ask the following question and look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments box below.

What will prevent you from maximizing the success from your email marketing and contact marketing strategies in 2013?

Don’t be shy, I’m a good listener.

photo: highersights