Anything great that’s ever happened in business and certainly in marketing has come from knowing your customer.

So if you don’t know your customer intuitively–like Steve Jobs or Henry Ford or Howard Schultz–you have to go out and listen to your customer. To find out what the world looks like from their perspective.

But, for too many CEOs, Presidents, CFOs, CROs, CMOs and EVPs of Sales and Customer Support, there are dozens of levels, layers, tools, platforms, channels, systems, dashboards, reports and processes we rely on–too much. Collectively they form a big barrier and filter between the company and the customer. And these barriers and filters are not sensitive or absorbent enough to truly understand and synthesize what customers are really saying…and really thinking.

The great news is that the solution is so simple. And the only tools you need actually came with you when you were born. The solution is called listening and the tools are called ears. And best of all, this costs absolutely nothing–except your time.

Of course you also need mouth to ask questions and a brain to figure out what questions to ask. And you probably need some fingers to write or type notes while you’re listening.

So go forth and listen to your customers! No selling, no agenda. Just finding out what the world looks like from their perspective.

Don’t wait until your business feels stagnant–and don’t wait until problems are showing up in the numbers.

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