Episode 73: Are you Listening?! Why It’s One of the Most Important Tools for a Business Owner

Listening is a critical skill in every relationship. That includes the relationships that you build with clients and vendors. Are you utilizing your best listening skills to help your business grow? We will outline how listening can help boost your clientele and put your business on the path to success.

Roger: Welcome to Local SEO Today.

John: And I’m John Vuong.

Roger: In this episode for our podcast, we want to talk to business owners, John, who are watching us today or listening or you know, or listening to our podcast about the use of listening and how…If you listen properly and ask proper questions, a lot of good things happen with your business so why don’t we talk about that? What are some problems if you don’t listen or if you do listen well. What can you…How does it help your business?

John: Yeah, like this is a great problem to have actually because when you start getting leads either by a phone call or a submission on your website, emails you want to uncover what their problem or struggles are, right? So, you have to first ask the right questions to get that information out of them and we always like picking up the phone and talking to a prospect, right? So someone’s interested, they called you and they’re willing to want to either know your price but before you give them a price you need to figure out what the situation is, where are they coming from, did they have a bad experience using somewhere else? Where are they in terms of their business cycle? Are they a new business or are they experienced business? Like figure out a little bit more about what’s going on in their situation at that time.

Roger: If you don’t ask the question then it ends up costing you time and money you know, to give you an example, I had to get appliances last year for my house, for my apartment. They knew or they didn’t uncover that I was on the third floor with no elevator. When you do ask the right questions they realize I need more equipment, I need two men, I need such and such but if they don’t ask you the consumer uncover what’s the situation where we’re bringing it to, is there wide enough opening, do you have parking on site or do you have to park down the street so you can see as a business owner ask these questions or don’t ask and let’s see what happens, right?

John: Yeah, I think it takes time and a lot of practice, right? So you need to know who you want to serve as a ideal customer as well but once you uncover a little bit more about them and their situation is this going to be a good fit for your business, right? Because it’s best to not take on everyone but let people know that you actually specialize in this kind of service or product and this might not be a good fit for your situation and never leave it like that but try to refer to someone that you may know that…

Roger: That if they’re not a good fit.

John: If they’re not a good fit and don’t take on everyone, right? Maybe you did at the beginning when you started your company but once you know, you have a good idea as to who your ideal customer is, then you’re able to kind of put that in a persona of these are my exact clients, right?

Roger: So, if you’re a brand new business owner, you’re a young lady, young man starting a team. It’s called bootstrapping. You’re gonna do everything, you will take on every type of job because you…It’s all about revenue and that’s important. What John and I are speaking today to is once you’ve moved into the next phase of growing your business, let’s say your service-based business, your vehicles are in the east end of the city but you get a call from the west end. Time is money. Ask the question ahead of time to undercover, “Oh, you’re an hour away from me.” That turns into a two hour service call. Is that the best use of your time? I cancel clients many times to say…Certainly in our world of search engine optimization where are you based, where are your people, where is your store , where do you want to attract a business from? Yes, you can serve everyone everywhere but it’s not time you know, it doesn’t respect time and distance, etc. So, know your geographic area. And the ultimate type of customer and it all comes from asking questions.

John: Exactly, and figure out what exactly is their need, right? Like you might not even have a solution for them, right? Like for us, we’re very specialized in search engine optimization but a lot of customers don’t really understand what that involves, right? They may ask us, can you do a email campaign or social media ad campaign as well, thinking it’s very similar to what we offer. However, we advise them like this is not something we specialize in or experts at. We focus on certain things, right? And that’s where our court is.

Roger: And as a business owner but for any business when they ask the first…Usually the first question is how much is something. If you can slow things down and uncover, “Oh, so you’re interested in the XYZ product or the whatever. Tell me your experience.” And then you can uncover, “Oh, you do this or you’ve done this in the past or you haven’t.” You may actually uncover or realize and counsel this person, “This isn’t what you need at all. You need something else. I know your situation.” So uncovering these questions you not only become a consultant but you’re saving yourself time, you’re setting the proper expectations with a client that you and I don’t know.

John: And I know at the beginning it’s challenging because what you’re after is revenue so you’re taking as many clients that you may think you can service until you finally uncover as a business owner who your ideal customer is, right? But it takes time and at the beginning you’re probably gonna make a lot of mistakes and you’ll figure it out eventually and you’ll find a fine sweet spot in terms of who your ideal customers are and then you kind of go after them.

Roger: So, it’s not about just answering questions about how fast you can get there, what’s your prices? It really is…Slow it down, ask questions. You have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you talk.

John: Oh, that’s a great tip, Roger.

Roger: Thank you. Those are tips and tricks, John. I like to get those things there. But ask those questions and then you kind of go, “Oh, I understand. I think I understand what you’re looking for here.”

John: Yeah, no that’s great. Well, I think that’s a you know, in terms of the needs, analysis, asking questions it’s very important and you know, to be successful you want to make sure that you uncover as much information so it saves you time and money and a lot of resources because people that…Stuff that you didn’t uncover will cost you a lot more money at the end of the day.

Roger: Yeah, because you become more productive if you’re focusing on the type of service or product that you really are best set up to provide, you’re gonna make more money because you’re actually working with the right you know, group so you know?

John: Exactly, you become much more efficient at least anyway. Well, thanks a lot, Roger.

Roger: Thank you, John. This has been a great little session today and thank you for watching Local SEO Today.

John: Thank you.