Are you smart enough to know what they really want?

Photo Sometimes I think we get in our own way.  Our heads over think and we don't just trust our instincts.  

Try this experiment.

Grab some paper and a pencil/pen.  Without any editing and within one minute — jot down the three reasons people buy from you.  

No censoring, no being politically correct, no company speak.  Just trust your gut.

Once you're done, take a look at the list.  Are those the benefits you talk about on your website, in your brochure and as you pitch a prospect?

I'm betting not.  You have "marketing speak" in all those places.  You aren't speaking from your customers' heart. 

What would you say if you were truly speaking in their voice…about what actually matters to them?

(The photo is a high end restaurant in Chicago.  I'm sure they have thick steaks, fresh flown in seafood and the best liquors and wines.  But check out what they promote in their middle window.)  


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10 comments on “Are you smart enough to know what they really want?

  1. Justin Brady says:

    Sympathetic bartender? So, people come here when they are depressed!? Odd. I would on the other hand go to the restaurant if their bartenders were empathetic…
    (good catch though. Very funny)

  2. This is a really good subject I want to comment on. Most of the time all entrepreneurs fall in love affair with their ideas. I called it the unconscious thinking of entrepreneurs. What they need is just someone to listen for their branding or services workshop and give them a feedback regarding the idea. It is not the biggest or the strongest that last in the market but the more succeptible of change. Idea that trigger to innovation are most of the time incremental and hard for competition to follow. This is where I am coming from, executives egos won’t let them admit the fact that the solution is behind the desk, they will say I have it here on my desk not behind.
    I hope my contribution will help some executive or business owners diversify their thoughts.

  3. If you were actually talking to a potential customer and spouted too much marketing spiel then you’d have a point, but writing it down privately seems like a rather tangential way to prove what is a pretty decent hypothesis.

  4. Idrissa,

    It’s a real skill to be able to look at your idea from a distance and not let your own emotions and connections to it color how you evaluate it.

    A leader who can not only do that but teach his/her co-workers the same skill is a huge asset to an organization.


  5. Seth,

    Come back and let us know how it’s working!


  6. Simon,

    I didn’t really mean that you’d keep the information to yourself! I assumed that if business owners/leaders did the exercise, it would shape the way they communicated with their customers and prospects.

    But thanks for pointing out that I should have been more prescriptive in how I worded that. You’re exactly right, it does no good if it stays in someone’s head.


  7. Ashley Ellingson says:

    I really enjoy the first couple of sentences, “Sometimes I think we get in our own way. Our heads over think and we don’t just trust our instincts.” Without having read the rest of the post, this thought could be applied to many different contexts. I over think many situations in my college life now. Whether it is playing volleyball, or taking a test, I always seem to think about it way too much and most of the time, my gut instinct is right. Also, if you listen to your heart, it will usually lead you in the direction you are supposed to go.

  8. Quinn Adair says:

    I think this also goes along with staying true to your personal brand. This should take you places by giving you a consistent image that others can always associate with you.

  9. Nicole Wenstrand says:

    I tend to overthink things or problems because I don’t want to mess up because other people are watching. Majority of the time my gut instincts are fairly close to correct and I just need to take off and run with the idea. Originality will make you stick out and as Quinn said your personal brand is what people see. A good repuatation will take you a long ways.

  10. Steven Johnson says:

    I feel this is a major obstacle in the way of a lot of people these days. In the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, the point is made that we have to make our ideas simple. Too many times we overthink and overcomplicate things just because we are “experts” in our various professions. We have to find a way to simplify our marketing efforts in ways that will resonate with our customers. Otherwise we may miss out.

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