If you listen to your customer, you will also learn from them. So, here’s the question: what have you learned from them lately?
Learning from customers is as important as cash flow to your business. Without it, you will go under.
Maybe the real challenge is not learning, but rather formalising the learning process. It is about being deliberate and consciously getting everyone to take notes, and compare them. This becomes fuel for growth!
The main stumbling block to learning is (in my view) the process of actively selling. You can’t sell, and learn, at the same time. The one requires talking, the other shutting up.
The truth is that within most small and medium sized companies, information tends to flow quite freely. People in the business talk to each other. The problem is that this is all too informal and so much of the information gets lost in conversation. This is where I see the role of a monthly marketing meeting: to formally gather all the customer learnings from across the business and see how they impact on how things are done.
Let’s face it: great marketing is about telling people what they want to hear. The way to do this, is to learn from them. Let your customer tell you what they want, and then play it back to them through the marketing and product development effort.
The market is a noisy place. Are you actively trying to make sense of it? Is your business learning from customers, or just trying to sell to them?