Do You Really Hear Your Clients? 6 Ways to Listen
The primary purpose of any business is to make money. In fact, the definition of business is “exchanging goods or services for money.” In most cases, revenue depends on customers or clients. The foundation for your successful enduring business is a long-term two-way relationship with your clients. To foster this crucial relationship, you need to do only 2 things:
1. Listen for your Ideal Client’s problem. What is their biggest need, pain or challenge that relates to your work?
2. Solve their problem. Respond to their need and help them do, be, get or keep it.
Whether you attune to your Ideal Clients’ needs live or virtually, one-to-one or group, there are 6 simple guidelines for market research to help you listen in the right way for the right things:
1. Listen Selectively.
Many health entrepreneurs listen to the wrong people, such as family or friends, and then let bad advice lead them astray. People whose business opinions matter fall into one of three categories:
1. Prospective Ideal Clients
2. People with knowledge or experience of your Ideal Clients
3. People you pay for advice, such as a coach or mentor
Be cautious about listening to anyone outside these groups. Or listen, in order to learn or to rule out their opinions, but do not feel compelled to follow their advice simply because you know them! Don’t allow any one negative or critical person or opinion to throw you off-track. Don’t be influenced by opinions that are irrelevant to your business.
2. Listen for Repeating Patterns
Look for patterns or trends in the words, phrases, ideas or suggestions from your target audience. Then integrate those words or ideas into your marketing message, so that it speaks to people with those needs.
3. Listen for Specific Goals & Challenges
All business is about solving some kind of problem that people are willing to pay for the solution! What solution do you offer that people are willing to pay for? If you want more Ideal Clients in your holistic health practice, listen for these 4 specific things:
1. Listen to what’s working. One person’s success, result or breakthrough could inspire another!
2. Listen to their goals. What outcome do they want? You can’t help them get there if you don’t know where “there” is!
3. Listen to their problems, frustrations and challenges. What’s getting in the way of achieving their goal or outcome? Where are they stuck?
4. Listen to their language. How do they describe their situation? If you “read between the lines,” they will tell you exactly where they are, where they want to go and what’s stopping them!
4. Listen for Buying Triggers
You have probably heard that we base our buying decisions on emotion. Stirring up emotions may make people want what you offer. But most people are smart enough to not make a purely emotional decision, especially when it comes to their health or their money! You also need to appeal to their need and their logic.
Make sure your marketing message will trigger an emotional response, a desire, a want. The emotional response then activates a reaction of need. Then complete your marketing message with a logical, compelling reason to buy your offer.
5. Listen for Power Words and Client-Specific Vocabulary
Power language is words or phrases with a high emotional charge. Consider the difference between saying “overweight” and “fat.” Or between “cost” and “investment.” Or “show” and “reveal.”
As you develop your awareness of marketing, emotional buying and client language, you will start hearing and seeing words in a different way. Especially pay attention to words from your niche and from your own and affiliate professions.
If your client base belongs to a certain generation, profession or sub-culture, use words, phrases or slang that speaks to them in their own language. Focus on terms specific to that target group and “seed” then into your marketing, to plant “seeds” of ideas into the mind of your reader or listener. For example, many of my massage clients are referred by doctors, so I target them by seeding medical terminology throughout my marketing messages.
Set up a “swipe file” to store your collection of marketing phrases and power words. If you see a website or brochure with wording you like, save it in your file. But don’t copy others exactly – tweak the language to make it your own while keeping the message intact. Keep adding to this file over time and refer to it frequently when working on your marketing materials.
As a health professional, you would seed your marketing with words about the needs of your clients and the problems you solve, along with words about benefits and results – how your work helps people! For health entrepreneurs, this includes words relating to pain, pain relief, greater comfort or more energy, for example.
6. Listen with an Open Mind
Many practitioners ask questions with a particular answer in mind, and are unwilling to accept an answer they didn’t expect. They have an agenda and simply use questions as a lead-in to tell people what to do, rather than really listening to the client and responding appropriately.
Don’t assume you already know what your clients want. Don’t use your client consult session to get agreement or confirmation on your opinions. Really sit back and listen with an open mind to hear their needs, desires, frustrations and challenges. The only way you will truly be of service to them is when you they feel heard!
If you ask the right questions, your clients will tell you exactly where they are and where they want to go. These goals and desires will guide you in how to attract them as a client. Once you really hear them, not only will your marketing more effectively draw them in, but will also serve them on a deeper level when their improved health upgrades other areas of their life.
Truly listening – and hearing! – establishes rapport and credibility with anyone who has the particular need that you target. Trust and communication open up when you speak the same language as your audience! Once you tune in to your clients’ need and craft a marketing message that addresses it, you’ll always have enough clients and enough money coming in. And you’ll gain confidence knowing that your work is making a difference in people’s health and their lives!