By John Lavey | Hammock President/COO

Earlier this week at a client’s healthcare conference, the featured keynote speaker was Super Bowl-winning quarterback Peyton Manning. What interested me most in his remarks was how he, as one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, remained so devoted to learning throughout the course of his career. And that willingness to learn was described as one aspect of what made him an outstanding leader.

After college, Peyton and his brother Eli, quarterback of the New York Giants, would meet with a former coach, David Cutcliffe, to go over fundamentals. “He would treat us like we were 18 years old,” Peyton said. They spent time learning how to receive the ball being snapped from the center, the most basic of actions, before moving on to other basics, like how to grip the ball and where to set their feet.

Encouraging and enabling teachable moments with customers is vital to creating clients who become advocates for your brand. I saw it in action at another recent healthcare conference. Attendees were invited ahead of time to pick two topics that interested them the most out of a set of eight choices. They were then asked to rate their level of expertise in each of their top choices.

The results surprised me: Attendees chose topics where they had the least expertise. They were truly there to learn.

As marketers, part of our job should be to reinforce a customer’s intrinsic desire to continuously learn and improve by going back to basics. Depending on the client, this could mean making sure their content aligns well with their core mission or rethinking how they appeal to and engage with their audience.

Teachability is a key quality of leadership. Leadership and good decision-making don’t always come from the C-suite; many employees have a lasting and profound impact because they continue to grow and learn.

Takeaway: Building a relationship with clients that encourages and enables continuous learning will not only help them along their buying journey, but it will also help build a culture that rewards learning and problem-solving within their own organization.

Photo: Getty Images

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