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Conduct A Listening Tour With Your Customers

August 29, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Business, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

This time of year naturally pulls me back to my school and college days when I needed to listen more than I spoke in order to learn. Typically a formal educational setting involves one teacher speaking and a classroom full of students listening. Once in awhile, the teacher would listen as students presented homework projects and speeches but for the most part students had the role of listening.

In 2016 after Hillary declared herself a presidential candidate, she went on a listening tour. She wanted to listen, not talk to, constituents to understand the important issues of their personal agendas. People and the media didn’t understand why Hillary was listening and not talking as much at campaign stops. One of her campaign managers Melanne Verveer explained, “What they missed was she was actually listening! By the time she finished those listening sessions around New York, she really knew more about New York, about the issues there, about what was on people’s minds.”

A lot can change in a short or long period of time especially for a woman entrepreneur who manages a business. Not only do changes in competition, industry standards, marketplace pricing and world events create changes for a business entity, it typically affects the businesses’ clients. If an entrepreneur has been operating for two, five or ten years through major changes in the economy without re-assessing its position and needs of its clients, it can lose touch with factors clients use to make buying decisions.

Over the past five months while on medical sabbatical I contemplated Women TIES mission and members with a great deal of thought on full days of beautiful blue sky and summer breezes. It might sound corny but the peaceful surroundings and quietness of mind allowed me to think about where my business started 14 years ago, how it has slowly changed over time and social issues inspiring me to adjoin two divisions to the company. The divisions came from women interested in more interactivity besides just business ties. A lesson from an older woman entered my mind saying, “Pay attention to the way your business road turns then curves and leads you off the original road to find where success lies.”

Women TIES road has curved, so has my personal health at times, because of this I want to host a fall listening tour in all Women TIES regions where we created programs and have members so I can ask and listen to the 2018 needs of women entrepreneurs across New York State. I will also bring women together who have interest in our sports and equality divisions to develop them further. I hope you join me this October when I kick-off the special listening tour luncheons.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom might inspire you to contemplate whether or not you should conduct a listening tour of your customers or staff? Has your industry been changed the past five or ten years? Have your customers been asking for new services or products from you? Does your staff hear ideas from clients because they are on the front line and if so, do you ask them what they hear and see happening? Do you speak to other industry professionals about changes happening to them so you can compare notes?

Today might be the day you decide to listen more than talk, to uncover golden nuggets of information to help you stay, maintain or change the course of your enterprise. I look forward to “hearing” from you on the road this fall.

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