Run Your Business: Listen closely


August 18, 2021



It was an iPod gift for Father’s Day that transformed my running.

In the years before I got that iPod, my running became stagnant. To prevent knee injuries, I got into a set routine. I ran at the same speed, for the same amount of time, on the same treadmill. Boring? Definitely! But it kept me in shape and injury-free.

Everything changed with that tiny little iPod. The power of music pushed and motivated me. Hearing my favorite music was invigorating. I needed to run faster, further and to explore new areas. The treadmill was no longer enough for me. I needed to get outside and push myself distances I never thought I could travel.

As I found myself running farther from home, though, I had to listen to more than just music. Danger can strike a lone runner anytime. We have to be aware of all that surrounds us, and listen closely for traffic that can come at us from all directions. We need to be aware of other people, runners and bikers around us.

Most importantly, we have to listen to ourselves. As we push ourselves out of our comfort zones, our bodies have a lot to tell us. Should I push through that ankle twist, or head home and ice it? Am I overheated or dehydrated? My body tells me the answer — if I take the time to listen to it.


Years ago, I was in a sales slump. I went on plenty of estimates, I just couldn’t close any of them. It made no sense to me. Why didn’t they sign on for service?

I finally realized I was so caught up in what I wanted to say, that I wasn’t listening to what they were asking for. The customers were being very clear on exactly what they wanted, and why they were willing to leave their current service providers. I just needed to listen better. After I tweaked my presentations to zero in on all their concerns, the sales started to come my way.

If you listen closely, your current customers can be your best evaluators of your staff. While we always try to get the same tech back to service the same account, it’s not always possible. Plus, a different tech can offer a new set of eyes and recommendations. Every technician, when properly trained, should provide our customers with the exact same level of service.  But when a customer calls and asks you not to send a particular technician anymore, it is usually for reasons more than they just like the first one better. Chances are we are going to find issues in either their service or personality that affected the customer. Now we can dive in deeper and discover deficiencies in our training or supervisory programs.

Listen. And not just to customers. Our employees have a lot of valuable information to share and we need to listen to more than just words.

A while back, one of our top employees’ attendance started to become erratic. For years he was rock solid, but suddenly he was arriving late nearly every day, with little to no excuse. When we approached him, he apologized profusely and tried to assure us it would not happen again.

But we could tell something more was going on. We pushed the conversation deeper. Finally he opened up and we learned his spouse recently got an overnight job in the hospital, and he could not leave his children alone until the babysitter arrived. Understanding this, we were able to adjust his start time to a more manageable time that fit his schedule. By really listening to him, we were able to put him into a position to succeed and continue to be a valuable member of our team.

The answers are right in front of us. Just take a moment; listen closely, and you will hear it.

Have a great run!

About the Author

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Broder is owner of BHB Pest Elimination, New York, N.Y.

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