As the economy acts like a rollercoaster at Six Flags, listening to customers in order to truly understand their needs is more important than ever. Each organization is fighting for an increasingly shrinking piece of the pie as the country prepares for uncertainty in 2023. A business’s need for marketing assets that are both creative and efficient aren’t regressing along with the major indexes, however, but are actually enhanced.
While Americans may think twice about what they spend their money on, businesses need to think twice about how they stand out. Whether the solution is an NIL activation with a collegiate athlete, or a new round of branded content and digital assets, businesses will be more cautious than ever in handing over their trust and budget.
In 2023, building relationships with clients and being able to offer the most customized solution will win out. The keys to doing this? Listening. Analyzing. Going the extra mile.
Below are some takeaways that we have learned over the past two years in the industry.
Active Listening is Essential
Put down your script, pick up a pen, and get ready to listen. No two clients are the same, so your proposed solutions shouldn’t be either. Understanding how to offer the most efficient solution starts with knowing what drives the client.
As the Harvard Business Review wrote in 2021, “A participant in any conversation has two goals: first, to understand what the other person is communicating (both the overt meaning and the emotion behind it) and second, to convey interest, engagement, and caring to the other person. This second goal is not “merely” for the sake of kindness, which would be reason enough. If people do not feel listened to, they will cease to share information.”
When chatting with prospective clients, we focus on diving as deeply as possible into their status quo, forecasts, and goals. Allowing the client to talk about every aspect of the organization provides valuable insight into how a solution will help them in both the short and long term.
Affirmation Builds Confidence
While the client is speaking, nonverbal communication like nodding of the head and smiling help everyone feel heard, understood, and affirmed. Organizations are far more likely to choose a team they feel like will partner with them and work to solve their specific problems. Verbal affirmation is important as well. Recognize their body of work, the quality of their product or service, and applaud the vision that they’ve detailed.
Repetition and Personalization are Critical
Repeating details, goals, and concerns back to the client are foundational to the process. Not only will this help keep the information correct, but it will show how intentionally you are paying attention to the client. The act of repetition is widely regarded to be soothing and a stress reliever as our brains search for order. By repeating back various items to the client, the problem, and by extension your solution, become simpler and more attractive.
Relationships will be at a premium over the next several months. Active listening can be the most valuable tool in an effort to establish those relationships and build trust. As you sit in your next meeting, get intentional about the questions you ask, the way you listen, and the frequency of your affirmation towards the client.
Progage came to life in early 2021, when NFL football player Kaden Smith and entrepreneur Kyle Fenner came together to create a sports marketing agency focused on helping brands win via creative storytelling and social media marketing.