Can you handle the truth? February 24, 2010 RICCentre By Stephen Rhodes Do you talk to your customers, I mean really talk to them? Most of us in business would say we talk to our clients. We may even conduct online or in-store surveys. Bigger companies might employ a telemarketing firm to get customer feedback. Most of it is lip service, because we never really get to know our customers’ needs with online surveys. You want the truth right? Warts and all. Create a deeper dialogue with your customers if you really want to know what they think. Don’t shoot the messenger and don’t make excuses. And be prepared to answer the bell when they are critical. Be a good listener. Hear what they are saying, not what it is you think they are saying. That’s why salespeople aren’t always great at gathering this kind of market intelligence, because they are too busy trying to get the sale. And take action. There is nothing worse than creating great dialogue and then ignoring the outcome. It’s like asking for someone’s opinion and dismissing it because it doesn’t match your own. Start with their needs first, not your own, and re-engineer your company, products, service to match what your customers want. Don’t get defensive.