I failed again!

 

Yes, you read that right. I didn’t envisage it but it happened. And now, I am really pained, not because I failed once more but because the same might happen to you. I do not want that to happen to you and that’s why I chose to write this.

 

It all started about a year ago. I met this lady and after a few exchange of words, I fell in love with her almost instantly. She was what any man would want in a woman, God-loving, fun to talk with, intelligent, smart and beautiful in and out. Who was I not to fall in love? Having failed in relationships a few times. I had pressed the pause button for two years. I was going to make sure the next one was it. So after two years, this babe strolled along and so I fell in love.

 

It however didn’t pan out as expected. The boat of our love crashed. And now, I’m back at square zero. I am not however as interested in telling you the full story of my failed relationship as much as telling you why it did. So what was responsible for my failed relationship and how does it concern you? Stay with me…

The lifeblood of any relationship whether marriage or business is communication. Communication is to relationships what blood is to life. There can’t be a healthy relationship without communication. Now, there are two sides to communication, speaking and understanding.

 

Speaking entails any means by which thoughts, ideas or feelings are expressed, whether by voice, gestures, facial expressions or other body language. Understanding involves not just hearing what was said but interpreting it according to the speaker’s intention. Understanding requires active listening. Listening, my friend has almost become a lost art. Listening is an art! And it must be learnt. In our language classes, we learnt that “until the other party gets the intended message, no communication has taken place”.

 

Many are still making the mistakes today, equating conversation with communication. These are two different things. Communication thrives on understanding. The parties involved in communication must understand each other. And that, my friend is where I goofed in my relationship. I took conversations for communication. We obviously weren’t listening to each other even though we were conversing. In whatever relationship we find ourselves, we should strive to listen to each other more. I love the saying from one of the first century Greek philosopher, Epictetus “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

 

Wow! What a powerful saying. Here’s my question to you today: Are you listening to your partner, customers or clients as much as you should?

 

I have read different stories of failed product launches and many more business failures. As a developer, I have also experienced product failures myself. I have designed a number of products that didn’t see the breaking of day simply because I went about making them the wrong way. I didn’t validate the need for the products. As creatives, we are excited about our skills so much that we create products without validating the need for the products in the marketplace. The secret to success with any product is product-market fit. The market must be ready to adopt and accept the product you are creating else it is doomed to fail. Don’t you come complaining about how you are struggling with a particular product or service, sit right now and ask yourself if you validated the idea for the product/service before creating it. Just as with marital relationships, business relationships also requires that you engage and listen to your clients/customers and understand exactly what their needs are. Listening to your customers ensures that you only create solutions that are specifically meant for them and hence, they are ready to buy when it’s out.

 

Don’t assume for your clients. Validate! Your genuine interest in caring for your customers needs shows in the product you create. I have come to realize that we only buy what speaks to us. Unless a product connects with you on an emotional level, you probably wouldn’t buy. That’s why every marketer tries to speak from your pain points so they can get you to buy. Everyone filters messages through their own frame of references. Your beliefs, experiences and knowledge of the person talking per time act as filters for the message that is being passed across and once there is a connection, you have no choice but to buy into the message.

 

If you want more people to buy your products, services and offers, learn to listen more and connect with them on a deeper level.

 

I’m sure you have heard of the term ‘Social Listening’. What do you understand by that term and how do you apply it in your business? Share with us in the comments.

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