Chapter 4: Ways We Don’t Listen
Most business owners, including dentists and doctors, are familiar with the vital importance of listening to prospective customers. In the case of a medical or dental practice, these customers are both patients and prospective patients. In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey said it best: "Seek first to understand, then be understood."
Our most successful clients do this as standard operating procedure. If you don't do it, or you lose a little edge and you don't focus on listening, noise is created in your marketing and sales processes.
Just for discussion purposes, let's assume you and your team have had some sales communication training. That means you and your team understand how to engage a prospective patient in conversation, you create a space and environment where they can express their needs, and you participate in a dialogue to establish mutual understanding. It means through training and practice, you avoid the kinds of answers that shut down conversations; you ask probing, open-ended questions, you listen so you respond properly, and you don't get lost in monologues that kill conversations.
(If you're not doing all of the above, stop right now and find some communications training. We've uncovered a major noise problem in your marketing. By the way, you can monitor this with a tracking telephone number. Email me if you'd like us to help you with that. It's an inexpensive tool, but it gives you vital information.)
As I said, let's assume you are doing all that well. That means you understand the importance of the opinions and perspective of your prospective patients. They are coming at you with questions and opinions that may be uninformed or misinformed. In order to convert that prospect into a patient, you must work with them to help them understand the value of the services you offer. If they don't see the value in working with you, they will not buy or, worse, go somewhere else to buy. So, if you are listening well and responding well for the listener, you are prioritizing the prospect's need to be understood.
Universally, all successful business owners will agree with these concepts for communication with prospects. However, noise creeps into your marketing in a sneaky way when you don't apply the same approach when it comes to your website. In the hands of an expert, today's analytics tools allow us to see where the exchange between your website and the website visitor breaks down. If your marketing program does not include acknowledgment of this "friction," it's like not listening to a prospective customer, only you're allowing that leakage to occur at a point where you have no conversation established, so the prospect just leaks through.
There is an easy way to avoid creating this noise between you and your website visitors: adopt the perspective that User Experience (UX) should guide the ongoing refinement of your website. An investment in this knowledge, analysis and tools prioritizes the user experience in determining how you manage and display content on your website. Yes, this means your website really is never finished. New UX information coming in gives you detailed information on how to make your site communicate better, so updates must be made all the time to respond to that knowledge.
Here is a simple example. One UX analysis tool called HotJar records all your site visits as a video. The user's cursor shows up as a little green dot, so we can see how their visit progresses. This technology gives us so much more behavioral information than flat statistics like what you find on Google Analytics.
So, let's say we see interested site users looking for (but not finding) forms to make contact. Your forms might be placed in an obvious place according to you and your web designer. But if the user can't find them, you have noise on your hands. The friction leads to users not making contact. By observing their behavior, we can adjust your site to reduce friction. Responding to user behavior is the same as listening in a sales conversation. This is the sort of work we do in Dog Star Media's Rising Star Web Development and Management program. And it works.
Responding to UX is the hallmark of the most intelligent online marketing and advertising programs these days. Another good example is Facebook advertising using the Pixel. The Facebook Pixel details the behavior of visitors to your website when they click through to your site from a Facebook campaign or promotion (aka Dog Star Media Content Social Media program). In creating re-marketing audiences using this Pixel data, we can separate your site visitors who have filled out a form from those who started to fill out a form but stopped. We can isolate those who had doubt and create a follow-up campaign for them designed to restart the conversation and build more value.
You can't do this if you are not observing user behavior. We do this in our Social Media Advertising program referred to as Level 2.
It's a new world out there, and you have to adapt. You have to find ways to apply the concepts you know work to emerging opportunities. Prospective clients ask me why so many good leads leak out of their marketing. Instead of asking me or another expert, we really need to be asking the user. UX-based marketing has the answer to that question.
If we can help you make this leap forward, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.