Young children are often taught to “stop, look, and listen” before they cross the street. Stop to see what’s in front of you. Look both ways to make sure no cars are coming. And, listen for any oncoming traffic. This same principle works in marketing.
For example, I teach marketing seminars at conferences across the country. At many of these events, people can book appointments with me or sit together during a meal to ask marketing-related questions. Yet, I’m surprised by how many individuals waste these opportunities.
Rather than take advantage of the brief time to request my expert advice for free, some people use up the time by talking almost the entire meeting. I simply sit there wondering if they want to learn or just hear themselves talk. These individuals might be authors, business leaders, or non-profit directors. But, they’re so caught up in their own world that they forget to stop, look, and listen to outside input.
Don’t make the same mistake. If you’re an author, listen to feedback from an avid reader, literary agent, editor, or publisher. If you’re a business owner, listen to your key customers. If you’re a non-profit director, listen to major donors or frequent volunteers. Use “stop, look, and listen” to your advantage:
Stop: Stop talking so much about your book, product, or charitable cause. When you meet someone who could help you grow, get to the point and maximize the opportunity to gain valuable insights. Quickly describe what you do or explain your question, but keep a mental clock in your head that says that “stop” when 60 seconds are up. Talk less and ask more.
Look: Look both ways to see if communication is flowing evenly. Are you inviting the other person to share their feedback? Or, do you over-explain so much that it prevents someone else from giving you outside perspective that could be beneficial?
Listen: Listen for oncoming advice. If someone gives you constructive criticism, pause to listen and absorb their point. Write it down. You don’t have to implement or agree with someone else’s input. But, their skepticism or advice might give you a window into improving your marketing effectiveness. Half the battle of capturing a wider audience is understanding and overcoming a skeptic’s concerns. Your promotional efforts will strengthen when you incorporate a wider perspective.
Don’t get run over by a missed opportunity to learn and grow. “Stop, look, and listen” for valuable input that can improve your marketing.