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By Charlie Cook

Can you imagine having a phone conversation where you
couldn't hear what the person at the other end was saying?
You would have difficulty getting much done and you certainly
couldn't tailor your response to their needs and interests.
Yet this is the way many people market their products and

Most people make the mistake of thinking that marketing is
one-way communication. The tendency is to create marketing
materials and push them out to your target market and hope
for a response. Marketing monologues, whether in person, in
a brochure or on a web site are a sure way to scare
prospects and clients away.

If you want to grow your business your objective should be
to create a dialogue with prospects and help them become
clients. Starting your marketing efforts by creating a
two-way conversation with prospects can help you target
your marketing efforts and open the door to future business.

* Is your marketing communication two-way?

* How often do you ask your prospects to identify their
biggest problem, relative to the service or product you offer?

* How often do you survey your target market to find out what
they are worried about?

* Can you list their most pressing concerns?

* Do you use this information to regularly improve your
marketing strategy and materials?

Large corporations provide annual job performance reviews
and conduct annual customer satisfaction surveys. While
annual feedback like this may be useful to you and is better
than nothing, your goal is to create an ongoing dialogue with
your prospects and clients so that you can regularly improve
how you market your services.

You won't want to rush back to the office after every client
meeting to revise your marketing strategy, but the more often
you ask questions to understand client and prospect concerns
and then shape your marketing to match, the more new clients
you'll attract.

Improve your marketing by listening to prospects and clients.
Get them talking by asking the right questions and then hear
what they have to say. Fortune 500 companies use marketing
firms, charging tens of thousands of dollars to conduct
customer satisfaction surveys. If you’re an independent
professional or small business owner, you can do it on your
own provided you are a good listener.

Good general questions to ask include:
- What's the biggest obstacle to growing your company?

- What problems are your biggest concerns?

- What are your three most important objectives for the next

- What’s the decision making process in your organization?

The specific questions you use will depend on the problems
you solve for clients. If you install phone systems, you’ll
want to know what your prospects’ biggest concern is
about their phone system and its installation. If you're an
accountant your questions will be about financial objectives.
If you provide conflict management you'll want to find out
the most common sources of discord.

The objective is to understand your prospects needs and then
you can use this information to position your products and
services. Let your target market tell you what they want to
see and read. Good times to fine tune your marketing include;
before you develop your marketing materials, when you talk
with prospects and in your conversations with clients.

- List 3-5 questions you could ask a prospect or client to
identify their biggest concerns relative to your service or

If you want to attract more clients, find ways to ensure your
communication is two-way. Frequent surveys, in-person
conversations and even watching how your clients use your
products are all good ways to get feedback. When your
communication is two-way you’ll know what prospects and
clients are concerned about and you can target your
marketing to increase your business.

2003 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

The author, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals
and small business owners who are struggling to attract
more clients and grow their businesses. To get the
free marketing guide, '7 Steps to Get More Clients
and Grow Your Business' visit or write

This article was submitted by - Charlie Cook Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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