Remember that old saying ‘walk a mile in another man’s shoes’? It’s time for a revival.
Yep, if you want to be a great marketer or a great salesperson, you must take off your own shoes. I realised this last week when someone gave me their business card which said ‘Printer Consumables’.
As my brain latched on to the word printer, I asked him for a quote for printing. “Oh no” he said, “I only sell printers and ink cartridges”. He then went on to tell me about all the types of printing hardware that he sold.
This practice is evident at business breakfast meetings: each person stands up and says what they do and what service they provide. It’s left up to the listeners to try and figure out how that service may help them, causing them to either miss most of what your saying or put it in the too hard basket. All so dull.
Are you boring your customers with your love for your own business, instead of focusing on how it can help them?
Back to those moccasins.
If you want to rise above your competition, you’ve got to take off your shoes. You then put on the shoes of your customers, figuratively speaking. What shoes do they wear? This is an odd but important question, so take a minute to think about it.
Once you are wearing their shoes, immediately, you begin thinking about their needs. You start seeing your products or services from their perspective. What do they want? How does what you do, add value to their lives?
If they are a business person then how does your business add value to their business?
Back to the case of the business breakfast.
I’m taking time out of my busy day to attend a networking event, and I’m only interested in how your products or services are going to make my business more profitable. Aren’t you?
In the case of printer consumables, I’m not interested in the hardware but in how it will save me money or resources. I want to know how quick the response is when it needs fixing or needs new ink cartridges.
Basically, as a potential customer, I don’t want to know what you do – or how you do it – but how you are going to improve my business or, better still, change my life.
Now, still wearing those shoes? Imagine you are listening to yourself speak. Stand in front of a mirror if you like, as you give your pitch. With your target market in mind, ask yourself: are you talking business jargon, or solving your customers problems?
Once you invest in this new train of thought, you begin talking about benefits and solutions. You can see their problems and challenges, allowing you to get alongside them and offer solutions, rather than offering products or services. It’s not long before you discover that you have a variety of customers who all wear different styles of shoes. All these different shoes represent different buyer personas.
You need to adopt differing styles of language to find rapport with your different customer personas.
You may have developed an exercise to identify your customer personas already, but how deep did you dive into the needs they have and how you resolve them? Did you bring that knowledge through to your daily interactions with them? Your front line staff need to be versed in their needs and how your company can help them, otherwise the knowledge is wasted, and nobody benefits.
If you are struggling to walk in your customers shoes, these questions may help.
- How do you talk to them in a meaningful way?
- Who are your potential customers?
- What are their problems which you can solve?
Most businesses will discover that for all the customers that have ever approached them there are six different personas.
Now, I set you a task: define those personas and write a short description about each one. Give them a personality, give them a name. Now you – and your team – can pitch your marketing in a way that is meaningful to them.