As a marketer in the construction industry, the phone is your primary tool. It’s how you’ll be building relationships with potential clients, finding out about upcoming jobs, gathering information and setting up meetings. In all of this, listening is vitally important.
We’re often bad at listening. We can assume we know what the other person is going to say, and then we switch off and focus on what we want to say. We might make the mistake of thinking that getting our point across is more important than hearing the other person out.
Good marketing is based on good relationships. Just think for a moment how you feel when you have had something important to say but the other person obviously couldn’t be bothered to pay attention. Depending on your personality, your thoughts may focus on how the other person is being rude or foolish. You may focus more on how hurt you feel. Either way, it doesn’t make for a good relationship!
If your client (or your potential client) is talking, make sure you are listening - I mean really listening. Try to follow it up with a relevant comment or question. Listening shows respect, and it shows intelligence.
How can you develop good listening skills?
- For a start, don’t talk. It sounds obvious, but many of us have a habit of jumping in, or finishing people’s sentences.
- Having said that, active listening means responding to what the person says, agreeing or expressing empathy, using little interjections to show that we’re listening.
- Concentrate, and be present to the conversation. Give the person your full attention, and resist the temptation to check your emails or do other things while you’re on the phone.
- If something is unclear, ask the person to repeat themselves or ask them to say more about it. It could save misunderstandings later. Don’t be afraid to repeat things back, or use phrases like ‘if I understand you correctly…’
- It’s a lot easier in face to face communication, but be alert to non-verbal communication. You can often pick up on the fact that you’re calling at a bad time, for example, from the hurried tone of the person on the other end. Be responsive to these cues.
By listening, it is amazing how much you learn. Make notes on anything you pick up, little details about the client, their work, your competitors, and so on. It might come in handy. And above all, remember that listening to the client is more important than conveying your agenda. As a former boss of mine used to say:
‘You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.’
If you need a helping hand with your marketing, get in touch today. Download our Really Useful Guide to Construction Marketing - and if you’re a member of the CIOB, you can read it as part of your continuing professional development.
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The Really Useful Guide To Construction Marketing
You can read it as part of your CPD with the CIOB