Yes, that’s right, you are not your customer….
There are two things fledgeling business owners love talking about, their product or service and themselves.
I can understand why – they’re like new parents with a baby. They think everybody should be interested.
So when they profile their customers they imagine them to be interested in the same things as them.
- They think they’d both go to the same restaurants
- They’d like the same books
- They’d get enthusiastic about the same things
That’s all understandable but plainly rubbish.
Of course, you’re not your customer, by any stretch of the imagination.
As such, you are supremely badly placed to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine you know how they feel.
You might dress like your customer, shop like your customer, or even act as your customer — but you’re always going to see things through the eyes of a marketer.
You don’t have the same concerns and aspirations or even the same worldview.
Ad men start with algorithms and avatars like they were the secret to success. They employ techies to work out what their marketing message is, they build customers in a lab.
If potential customers don’t “get” your product, it’s not their fault; it’s yours.
Empathy is that rare ability to imagine what motivates someone else to act.
What’s the secret to empathy? An old style solution.
Ask your customers.
Ask them why they bought your product or service. Ask them what motivates them
What they like and don’t like.
And not just in a survey, in your everyday interactions with them, on social media, when you meet them in person. Engage in a conversation.
But what if I don’t have any customers yet?
Go where your potential customers hang out. Anywhere that has reviews, Amazon, Trip Advisor, Ebay…even Mumsnet (seriously) or Reddit. Have a read through the reviews because it will tell you much about what your prospects are thinking.
And don’t limit your thoughts to buying decisions.
What did you feel when you were a customer if you were misunderstood, why was that?
Was the other person showing a lack of empathy? You must have misunderstood situations in the past, why was that?
You may think a prospect is stupid for not choosing you, but how could you have influenced that decision? A little humility sometimes goes a long way.
You don’t have to be a marathon runner to sell running shoes, and you don’t have to be a bricklayer to sell bricks. You do however need to make a constant effort to see how other people see the world and to understand what goes on in theirs and to care about what motivates them and what pains them.
It’s a long and sometimes painstaking process, but the rewards will be great.
What makes you loyal to a company, brand or a person?