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Keep your ear to the net

August 25, 2006

By S&M Magazine

Think asking your customers directly is the best way to understand their needs or the market’s direction? Think again. More and more companies are gathering client feedback by checking out Web-based discussions. Here are a few reasons to monitor the Internet for customer insight:

1. Instant Data
Traditional market research can take weeks and months. Culling online resources for the latest conversations, opinions, and issues about a particular industry are instantaneous.

2. Trendspotting
Debates on blogs and other online forums deliver honest, insightful information about product and service trends and, more importantly, which of those trends seem here to stay.

3. Presentation Preparation
By monitoring online industry discussion sites and knowing ahead of time the day’s or week’s hot topics, sellers can appear more fresh on their sales calls. Being aware of the latest market concerns means they can anticipate prospects’ fears about purchasing products and prepare answers to their objections in advance.

4. Competitive Advantage
Knowing what a market’s hot-button topics are not only helps sales teams be more prepared on calls, but helps them keep tabs on what the competition currently provides—and what they have on tap for the future.

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