Are You Insane?


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You know the old addage: “If you always do what you have always done…” …but people do!

I recently worked with a team to answer an RFP. I asked if the potential client wanted to research the reasons why people in their target market were not buying, despite obvious benefits to them and to others. The answer was, “No.” How can this client grow market share unless and until they do something different? Shouldn’t we at least check to make sure we have all the reasons for rejection? Without changing, expecting to grow the business is insane!

We recently presented to the annual meeting of the Public Relations Society of America, and to a ProVisors group. The “Popcorn Story” worked well with both groups, as it always does. I started thinking, why is it so difficult for people to think of customer needs when they are in a business frame of mind? The example always works. People almost never think of the customer when they are thinking of business metrics. And yet, when they are asked to think of their own needs with respect to a movie theater, they can come up with an extensive list immediately. Why do we have these two separate parts of our brain? Can they be brought together? Are we insane, with two completely separate personalities, the “business” person and the customer?

Do me a favor. Talk to a few of your customers or potential customers. Really concentrate on listening to them talk about their business and their future. Listen for opportunities. Listen for pains or problems. Listen for budget issues. If you need a few questions to get started, look in the front of Pain Killer Marketing: How do you see your business or market changing in the future? How does doing business with us cost you money? How do we help you make money? Who is your best supplier, of all types, and why? How do you choose whom to enlist as a business partner or supplier? Listen. Listen without judgment. Listen without an agenda. But listen.

After you have spoken to a few customers or potential customers, contact us here and let us know how things went. What did you learn? Were you able to solve your insanity and bring your two minds together: the business person and the customer?

This blog posting was inspired by an article written by Stacy Karacostas a few weeks ago on “Is Temporary Insanity Keeping You From Growing Your Small Business?”

Your thoughts are always welcomed and appreciated!

Chris Stiehl
Chris has helped companies save money and sell more by understanding their customers better. He once saved a company $3 million per year for a one-time research expense of $2K. What does your competition know about your customer that you don't know?


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