Prototypes provide a Pathway for Connecting with Customers


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Prototyping is a way to introduce our products or services in a very disarming way. It is a way of saying, “I respect your opinion.” Creating that empathetic connection with others can have a profound impact on your company.

We all prefer to buy products from people that we perceive to be experts in their field. The role of the expert has changed. It is no longer the expert with superior product knowledge; it is the expert that shows knowledge in how the product is used. We have gone from a world of selling benefits and features to a world of listening and collaboration. That connection with a customer clarifies how the product is perceived, not how it may look to us.

Traditional sales approaches in the past center on improving customer experience through techniques that tries to manipulate the customer emotions. In the book Listening With Empathy , author John Selby says,

The new approach is participatory rather than manipulative – teaching you how to shift inwardly from negative to positive moods, and thus become genuinely friendly and helpful. Our Listening with Empathy method will enable you to move through the following four customer-encounter phases with high success:

Phase1 – Preparation: Before meeting with a customer or client, it’s vital to put aside any stress, worries, or judgments that may pollute the encounter – and shift your focus toward positive feelings and heart-centered emotions.

Phase 2 – The Moment of Encounter: Right when you meet someone, you need to present an honest, friendly, nonjudgmental greeting, and offer relaxed space. New techniques can help you maintain a bright inner center, emit a friendly presence, and converse with relaxed spontaneity, acceptance, and enjoyment.

Phase 3 – Empathic Communication: When you begin talking business, you need to maintain clear intent to be of service and to enable your customers to truly satisfy their needs. By encouraging an enjoyable emotion atmosphere, you can make sure your customers feel good hands and well taken care of.

Phase 4 – Processing: This fourth phase involves pausing after a meeting to reflect on a recent sales or service encounter and to decide purposefully how to follow up on it. You’ll learn to re-experience positive aspects of the encounter and focus on your desire to meet with the customer again.

Prototyping can be a powerful tool but only if you are willing listen and make that connection with your customers. The ability to reach outside of companies and connect with our customers develop a shared outlook of our markets and will allow us to develop new opportunities faster than their competitors. It is a simple fact that the companies that know their customers best are the market leaders. They understand what is important. The companies that don’t, market to the general public and as a result get average results. Our new products, our prototypes are shared experiences. Prototypes should serve as models not just for improved design but for improved connection with our customers.

P.S. The easiest form of engagement is listening. Well, maybe not the easiest.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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