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Small Business Marketing

Are you listening?

One of the most important skills for anyone in the business world is that of being a good listener.

When most people think of being a good listener, they think of having a conversation with someone else and listening to what they are saying.  However, in the business world the term listening takes on a broader meaning.

In order to be truly successful in business, there are two groups of people that you definitely need to listen to–your industry and your customers.  In this post, we’ll cover how to do both, and we’ll give you a few specific action steps to take that will make you a better listener.

Why you should listen
Paying attention to what is going on in your industry is a great way to get a leg up on your competitors, many of whom are probably so busy running their own businesses that they don’t have time to stop and listen.  You’ll get great ideas on how to market your services, and you’ll be able to pass along up-to-date information to your customers, which will help you gain their trust.

Using blogs to listen

One great way to listen to what is going on in your industry is to subscribe to blogs published by industry leaders.  You can use Google Reader to subscribe to many blogs, access them all in one place, and keep track of what you have and haven’t read. 

Action step: sign up for Google Reader and subscribe to 10 blogs published by leaders in your industry.  Review the blogs once a week for good information and content.

Using podcasts to listen

Podcasts are another great tool for listening to your industry (in this case in a very literal sense).  Podcasts are like blogs in audio form.  The good ones are packed with great content and useful information.  Itunes is a great place to find free podcasts published by people in your industry that you can subscribe to.  New episodes will automatically be downloaded when they area added, and you can listen to them anywhere–in your car, while you work out at the gym, etc.

Action step: Go to itunes and subscribe to five podcasts related to your industry.  Start listening to them on a regular basis.