A lot of small business owners that I meet find themselves very confused about what it is that their target customers really want. And by that I mean: What is the transformation or figurative “after photo” your customers desperately desire that will get them to take action right now to buy your services.

Here’s another great way I’ve heard this explained: “Passengers don’t buy the plane. They buy the destination.”

Makes sense, right?

But keep this in mind, too. You may have a private jet that can fly your customers to many destinations. In other words, your product or service may be able to provide peace of mind, confidence, greater income, less stress, more freedom, lasting romantic relationships, well-behaved children, a partridge in a pear tree…

You get the idea. The KEY to powerful small business marketing however, is to find the destination that is most desirable to the majority of your target market, and then lead with that in your marketing.

**Getting this nailed down is one of the first steps in bringing clarity to your marketing.**

And the best part is that it’s not all that difficult to find out what that “destination” is where your target market wants to go (i.e. what transformation in their lives they’d most like to have happen). First, all you have to do is be willing to listen with an open mind and an open heart to hear what people are really saying — and not necessarily what you secretly wish they were saying. (You can’t be attached to the outcome of what you discover!)

Second, you need to know where to listen because your target market is already talking. In fact, we live in an age where people can’t seem to stop talking!

This list of 25 places to listen for insight will get you started. But keep your listening ears on at all times. You never know when someone will say something that will become the “ah-ha” moment — and when your marketing success will change forever.

25 Great Places to Listen for What Your Customers Really Want

Ads from other companies (see what’s already selling!)
Blogs and blog comments
Chat rooms
Chats with family and friends
Competitor websites, newsletters and press releases
Conferences and seminars (what sessions are most popular?)
Conversations with suppliers and vendors
Conversations with your current clients
Facebook interactions
Feedback from your staff
Google Ad Words (what search terms are getting the most hits?)
Google Alerts
Government reports
LinkedIn discussions
Newspaper and magazine articles
Paid market research reports
Phone calls with potential new clients
Pop culture (what’s popular in TV, music, movies, fashion, etc.?)
Poll results (check out polls on Facebook and LinkedIn)
Radio and TV news programs
Small business association meetings (i.e. your local chamber of commerce, SCORE, NAWBO)
Social bookmarking sites (i.e. www.digg.com and www.stumbleupon.com)
Trade journals (these are specialized industry magazines that are tapped into specific niche markets — and hold a wealth of information)
Twitter posts (follow popular topics via hash tags #)
Unsolicited feedback from people you know (or don’t know!)
What have you found out from listening to your customers about what they really want? What transformation or destination are you creating in your customers’ lives? I invite you to share a little bit about the transformation you provide in the comments section below…

Author's Bio: 

Known as The Corporate Agent, Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR, teaches micro business owners and solopreneurs around the world how to grow their small business by working with Big Business. Get her FREE CD and articles at www.TheCorporateAgent.com.