Company owners do keyword research, brand analysis, review historical data and all the other big methods they can come up with to validate whether or not their product will sink or swim. Few ever practice the age-old art of listening.
Your prospective customers are talking all day long. They're showing up on Facebook talking about their dreams, their worries and their fears. Forums are filled with prospective buyers who are looking for someone who will give them a listening ear.
Gone are the days of "Big CEO and Company" going into the marketplace with an announcement that draws millions. Telling the market what they need doesn't work. The question might really be, did it ever?
Your present and future clients are savvy and they are smart. They won't fall for the old "Squawk Box" Charlie Brown's teacher messages any longer. They aren't listening and they don't care.
But they do want you to hear.
Will you hear their pain? Feel their needs and pay attention to what wakes them up in the middle of the night?
Listen to what your customers are asking for. Listen to what your competitor's customers are saying. Lean in. Pay very close attention. Listen to the "chatter" and take copious notes. There's no reason to go without this information that is steadily flowing. The key to big profits in today's market is a good listening ear.
What do they need? Your clients are very aware of what they need. But when you enter the marketplace a bigger issue must be faced. Are YOU aware of what they need? This is the real issue when it comes to selling products or services.
The reality of being successful in sales is summed up in this principle: People are looking to have their needs met. Period.
You can bring joy, security, and satisfaction to them as you serve them what they want and as they come to know you even better, you can serve them again and again. This is brand loyalty and long-term business in the making. It might sound crazy, but to the successful business owner, it's Business 101.
What are they complaining about? If you pay attention online through forums, chat groups, social media and other places people hang out, you'll quickly learn what they need. It's right there for anyone to discover. But it takes time to pay attention and, sadly, far too many companies aren't listening.
Amid all the headlines of dropping profits, increased layoffs and lost investments something has remained the same that only a select few are paying attention to. People are still buying what they love, dreaming about what they want and making it plainly obvious what they don't like!
Solve a problem with a unique solution and you'll make a huge profit. If people really love your solution, get great satisfaction and you treat them better than anyone else, you will never lack as a company. And if you pay very careful attention to your client's growing needs, you could easily create a long term business. Pretty simple, isn't it?
Are people disillusioned and unaware? Another great key to long-term profits is in becoming a resource that people can turn to and trust. Revealing hidden information, making difficult things simple and serving as an expert is a great way to grow a company.
It is my belief that we are at a critical time in history when people really do want the right information, they desire change and truly do want to know the truth. This is also a vulnerable time where less than commendable or reliable so-called experts are teaching things they know nothing about.
Colleges fill our heads with notions of “security” and “long-term dreams” when the sad reality is this: if you don't market a product that is highly in demand, you'll have an extremely hard time making a profit. Pay very close attention to what people are asking for. What are your customers struggling with? What do they want? What are they seeking? If you can give it to them, with value and excellence, you're on the verge of huge success.
The marketplace pays for value. Your value is directly related to how much you can bring to the people you serve. If you help those who are unaware, confused or even disillusioned you could be personally responsible for helping others change their lives. This is one of the most fun ways to build a business. Bring value and change to your customers and they will love you forever.
Give it with excellence and honor. Excellent customer service seems to have left the face of the earth. Business owners are watching their bottom line more than the satisfaction of the customers they serve. This has not helped our economy one bit and needs a serious change. Talk about needing a revival in the marketplace.Where are the happy service representatives, CEOs who can't wait to serve and product developers who dream of inventions at all hours of the night!?
If you serve people with excellence and honor, you will be remembered forever. Because it's so rare, you could quite frankly triple your profits if you do it long term. While it might not be easy, it surely isn't popular and it isn't something you even hear about much any longer in business school, it is always and has always been right.
Good will and honor will pay you much more than any stock investment could and it will leave you with a good night's sleep each night when you lay your head down on the pillow.
But what defines good will? Is it being available to your customers 24/7 through social media for every question or notion they might have? No. Not at all. But it does mean that when you are open, you give with all of your heart and with all that you have. Serve with excellence and honor and you'll rise to the top!
Rise to the top. The key to rising to the top is to serve better, work harder and go farther than the rest. This doesn't mean you work longer hours, you spend your entire life on Facebook or you never sleep. It means every hour you work, ever minute you spend building your company, every decision you make is to the furthering of your company and your customer's service.
The investment you make is the investment you'll receive. It never ceases to amaze me when people write me on Facebook and say, "Hey could you just give me some input?" and they continue with more than 10 paragraphs of details on what they need "input" on.
Before you think I'm being hard on anyone, let me tell you the truth -- you aren't going to ever reach your goals in business by begging people for help on Facebook or by asking a big company owner to just give their “input” anytime you need something. This is poverty in the mind. It's a cheap way of doing things and it makes the person seeking look desperate. Desperation is what you'll receive. And you'll never serve with honor and excellence with this method. Invest in your future and your future will reward you handsomely.
Rise to the top! Do what others will not! While others waste time and worry about what tomorrow will bring, go create more products that customers are begging for and give it to them with the best spirit possible.
Turn your ear to the chatter. Listen, they are talking. Listen carefully to what they need. Pay attention to your keyword research, do your due diligence when it comes to PPC and media buys. But when push comes to shove, listen. Listen carefully and your prospective customers will tell you exactly what they need. Then it's your job to give it to them and give them all you've got.
If a budding business owner says, "What if I don't know what I want to do?" or "I don't know what I want to sell," they are still thinking like an employee. CEOs don't think this way.
CEOs know what they want to do. It drives them, it steers them, sometimes it possesses them. And the war becomes how to get it done, not the mired abyss of wondering what to do with life that the mediocre fall into.
Listen more, serve with all you have, give with excellence and work with honor, and you will see your dreams come true.
Related: Why Faith Belongs In Your Workplace
Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.