Running a small business involves a lot of time running after customers. It can be frustrating to put time and effort into getting them to click on a link or getting them to take a meeting, only to find that when you’re there, they simply ignore you. But don’t worry! We’re here to go through some tried-and-true tips on how to break through when customers ignore you. Whether in person or online, try this the next time you see eyes glazing over.

It’s About Them

Don’t take it personally when a customer ignores you. Like most things in life, it’s not about you. It’s about them. We hear, “know your customer” all the time, but how does that translate when they’re not listening?

You do your homework on your customer for every meeting. But do you do an internet search, or better yet, a social media search five minutes before the meeting to see the most recent news and what the individuals care about? Business is about personal relationships, so make it personal. Start the meeting with, “I saw on your website …” or “I understand you’re a fan of …” to show that you’re prepared to talk about them.

Online, it’s about them too. This translates to starting emails with “You” or “Your” every time. Narrowly targeting sponsored posts and remarketing to them, rather than mass marketing. Personalization goes a long way to showing that you know their needs.

Actively Listen to Them

In a world where everyone talks, being a good, active listener is novel and will make you stand out. In meetings, use the phrase, “What I hear you saying is …” to show you’re actively listening and hopefully adding value by restating their top concerns.

Listening to customers online means you respond to their online reviews immediately and proactively reach out when they provide an opportunity for you to respond with, “what I hear you saying is …” Listening is the beginning of a dialogue, but you must be active in to add value.  

Challenge Them

You may have heard this story of a sales guy who gets a meeting to pitch his services. In the meeting, he directs his potential customers to read the pitch on their own but that he’d, “like to use our time to walk you through the three things we believe should have been in the RFP but weren’t, and to explain why they matter so much.”

That’s a bold move and one that ensures no one in that meeting is ignoring you. Instead, you’re having an active discussion about their business. And there are plenty of ways this idea translates online too. Just think about running ads targeting search of, say, a cheaply made version of what your team of craftsmen build, with a message like, “You don’t want that toy. You want this tool.”

While no one tactic will get every customer to pay attention all the time, by switching up your approach and focusing on them, you may find your hit rate increasing.  

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