The trait most likely to bring you success in marketing is listening.
But marketers are renowned for shouting all the time.
Active listening has taken my business back in the black, even during this pandemic. I want to tell you how I started to listen, what my customers have told me, how I started creating customized training programs and even get into three practical cases.
To begin, I have to invite you to skim an article I published in May of 2012. In it, I was theorizing why being open is the key to doing business. I understood the broader meaning of this what I conceptualized in 2012 only in 2020.
Businesses know what their problems are. Consultants try to intercept the needs of customers the best they can.
For example: Since I have a website, I get spammed by SEO and Web Design service providers almost daily.
I would never use spam to get business. I am no villain.
Let me explain. I’ve acted in a villainous manner in the past. I’ve positioned myself in a niche and defined my services narrowly. For eight years, I’ve offered digital marketing for entertainment companies. And it has paid off well. Until all my clients built their internal digital marketing teams.
There is nothing open in “digital marketing for entertainment companies.” It’s a profitable niche. Or at least it has been.
Businesses know what their problems are. And I found a way to listen to them.
After years of being open, publishing this website, sending a monthly newsletter, many companies know how I think. They know that I have method, clarity, hunger for results, drive, and the desire to fill the gaps in my knowledge (and in their knowledge too).
Starting from October of 2019, I started signaling that I was open to train and coach my clients.
As marketers do, I started shouting. Presentation Skills! Presentation Hero! Public Speaking! Virtual Presentation Skills!
But that’s not what my new clients heard. Lucky me…
They heard: “Matteo is open to be our coach, to be on our side, to help us overcome the marketing, communication, and productivity issues we are facing right now.”
The conversation goes like this: “Matteo, we like how you solve these business challenges. You’ve studied this stuff a lot, found creative solutions for your business, and we appreciate this. We’re in a tough spot. Give us what you learned in the form of training.”
My answer is always a resounding: “I would love to!”
Do I have training programs ready for all my new clients? Nooo. Sure I have a ton of material developed over the years. Nevertheless, I will, most of the time, create a bespoke mix of training, coaching, and workshops for these new clients. A fully customized training program.
There’s nothing like three examples to make this clear.
WordLift was the first one to call me. They are a SAAS company focused on proving the best semantic SEO tools and services. They started as a WordPress plugin but have become so much more than that.
Together with WordLift, we’ve started working on marketing training. They wanted help in getting a landing page up to par with the competition. After this first training, they’ve asked me to do much more and have become a recurring client.
World Energy Council Italy is an industry group that reunites all the stakeholders in the energy sector.
With the World Energy Council, I am developing several training courses focusing on the changes in the way we work as individuals and teams since the pandemic. We are now focusing on virtual presentation skills. Still, the energy sector seems eager to find better ways to work. They wish to shorten meetings, make internal communication more effective, and create the right space for personal productivity.
CMA Esport is an agency focused on services for sports facilities, sports communication, and e-sports.
CMA is fascinated with the idea of finding a sustainable sales pattern for its new software solution for gyms and clubs. I am training them to get them ready for the launch of the latest software. We are running the first (lean) experiments, getting out of the building, and talking to customers.
I might be on to something here.
Here’s is how it works.
First: you need to be open. You must broadcast how you think, solve problems, and approach the business world.
Second: you need to be available. I am available and accepting new clients to develop bespoke training programs.
Third: you need to signal your passions. In my case, marketing, communication, productivity, health.
Fourth: you need to listen. Listening and shouting at the same time is not possible. So, it would be best if you also stopped yelling.
Fifth: you need to do things that don’t scale. Creating a bespoke course for each client is not scalable. Do I care? You shouldn’t too.
That’s my recipe for becoming a non-shouting active listening marketer. I hope this leads me to create the thriving training business that I envision.
If you want to be a part of that, the first step is to sign up for my newsletter.