Monday, February 20, 2023
Okay that may have been intense but I believe it's what's changed everything about the conversations I have and the approach I've taken in my messaging strategy.
Before I was ever successful in marketing or coaching entrepreneurs, I was a negotiator. Not like Denzel Washington but almost (okay not at all). You learn a lot about communication, influence, and listening when your entire job is to build rapport and help people decide to release hostages and surrender in situation they know will lead to years in captivity. In fact, my first full negotiation was with a man facing a lifetime sentence. We talked for more than 3 hours before he walked out of his house after releasing a family member who he'd held captive during that time.
Because of my training and experience as a hostage and crisis negotiator, I know firsthand the importance of active listening in building trust and establishing a connection with others. Today, I use the skills I developed as a negotiator to help entrepreneurs develop strong messaging strategies in text messaging and email marketing. Today, I want to highlight the importance of active listening in marketing and offer practical tips for incorporating it into your messaging campaigns. By using active listening techniques, you can build better relationships with your customers, understand their needs and concerns, and increase conversion rates. So, whether you're just starting out in marketing or looking to improve your existing campaigns, read on to learn how active listening can help you connect with your customers and achieve your business goals.
Active Listening in Hostage Negotiations
Active listening is a critical skill in building trust and rapport with the other party. When negotiating with a hostage-taker, the goal is to create a connection that allows for a peaceful resolution. Active listening is essential to achieving that goal.
Active listening in hostage negotiations involves paying close attention to what the other party is saying. More importantly it's about understanding what they are feeling, and demonstrating that you understand their perspective. It's learning to validate their feelings and concerns.
One of the key benefits of active listening in hostage negotiations is that it can help to de-escalate a situation. The first step to rapport isn't talking. Actively listening to the other party and demonstrating that you understand their perspective helps to diffuse their anger or frustration and create a more productive conversation. Think about it. Who do you feel most connected to; people who tell you how great they are or people who want to understand you. Listening is the first step in influence.
The techniques used in active listening during hostage negotiations can be applied to marketing as well. By actively listening to your customers and demonstrating that you understand their needs and concerns, you can build better relationships with them and increase customer satisfaction. In the next section, I'll discuss how to use active listening techniques in your text messaging campaigns to achieve these benefits.
Active Listening in Marketing
Active listening is just as important in marketing as it is in hostage negotiations. By actively listening to your customers and understanding their needs, you can tailor your messaging to meet those needs and build better relationships with your audience.
In marketing, active listening involves paying close attention to customer feedback, responding to their questions and concerns, and engaging in two-way conversations with them. This can help you to identify pain points that your customers are experiencing, and to offer solutions that meet their specific needs.
Just like in hostage negotiations, active listening in marketing can help to de-escalate tense situations. By responding to customer complaints and concerns in a timely and empathetic manner, you can demonstrate that you value their business and are committed to resolving any issues that arise.
One of the key benefits of active listening in marketing is that it can help to build trust and loyalty with your customers. By demonstrating that you understand their needs and are committed to meeting them, you can create a stronger connection with your audience and increase customer satisfaction.
The techniques used in active listening during marketing can be applied to text messaging campaigns as well. By engaging in two-way conversations with your customers, asking open-ended questions, and responding to their feedback, you can tailor your messaging to meet their needs and increase the likelihood of conversion.
In the next section, I'll provide practical tips for incorporating active listening into your text messaging campaigns and turning leads into buyers.
So, how can you use active listening to turn leads into buyers in text messaging campaigns? Here are some practical tips for incorporating active listening into your messaging strategy:
Ask Open-Ended Questions: My team uses me for a lot of help. But the number one question I get asked is "What questions would you ask here?" I love that because they are employing the number one approach to listening and relationship building. Even with me their mentor. Instead of asking yes or no questions, ask open-ended questions that encourage your customers to share more information. This can help you to better understand their needs and tailor your messaging to meet those needs. For example, instead of asking "Do you like our product?" try asking "What do you like about our product?"
Here are 10 examples of easy questions that may help you connect:
What inspired you to try our product/service?
How did you hear about our brand?
Can you describe your experience with our product/service so far?
What do you like most about our product/service?
What could we improve about our product/service to better meet your needs?
How does our product/service fit into your daily routine?
What do you wish our product/service could do that it currently doesn't?
What are your thoughts on [recent industry news or trends]?
Can you walk me through your decision-making process when choosing a [product/service] like ours?
What are some other products/services that you've tried in our industry, and how do we compare?
Respond to Feedback: When a customer sends you a message with feedback, respond promptly and empathetically. My biggest pet-peeve is to get a text from a brand and not get a response. My second pet-peeve is to get a response that is unrelated to my message! If you aren't willing to respond to messages you receive from your campaigns stop using text messaging as a marketing tactic. And when you respond, do it promptly and with empathy.
When there is a complaint or suggestion, thank them for their feedback, and offer a solution that addresses their concerns. When their is a question, honor them by responding. Whatever their feedback respond to the emotion (see below) and the text. This can help to build trust and rapport with your customers and show that you are committed to meeting their needs.
Use Conversational Language: I used to joke that the difference between a street cop and a negotiator was a street copy yells commands like "Put down the gun! Put down the gun!" A negotiator starts conversation like, "What caused you to decide to bring the gun?"
Good marketers don't just yell "SALE! SALE! SALE!" They have conversations that are personal (see below) and conversational. Instead of using formal or technical language, use conversational language that makes your customers feel like they are talking to a real person. This can help to build a stronger connection with your audience and increase the likelihood of conversion.
Personalize Your Messages: If you're not segmenting (or grouping) your lists based on likes, dislikes, engagement, and other factors to help you really know your customers, you're missing a huge opportunity in your messaging strategy. Use data and insights to personalize your messages to your customers' specific needs and preferences. This can help to increase customer satisfaction and build stronger relationships with your audience.
Listen for Emotional Cues: I probably should have put this first. Pay attention to the emotional tone of your customers' messages, and respond empathetically to any negative or positive emotions they express. The better your questions above the more easily you'll identify the emotion. One of the greatest ways to connect with a person is at the core of the emotion. This isn't just a marketing tactic but a relationship building strategy. The customer that feels understood by you stays with you!
Listening is just one skillset I learned that helped me market at a high rank level. There are so many laws of influence you must understand to create a messaging strategy that converts and builds loyalty to you and your brand. Active listening is a critical skill for entrepreneurs looking to build strong relationships with their customers and increase conversion rates in their text messaging campaigns. By using open-ended questions, responding to feedback, using conversational language, personalizing your messages, and listening for emotional cues, you can tailor your messaging to meet your customers' needs and build better relationships with your audience. Incorporate active listening into your text messaging strategy today, and see the results for yourself!
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