Seek first to understand
(adapted from 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People)
My biggest bug bear since I made the shift into business ownership has been dealing with my taxes. From my time DJing and doing my self assessment tax returns to now having a fully fledged business set up, I have always hated the online return. Countless questions, endless jargon and at the end of it, a bill!
People were telling me to get an accountant, to pay someone to use their skills and take the headache away from filing my own return. ‘I’ll be fine’ I thought. But no. Why did I think this? Because I didn’t understand the offering and benefit that an accountant can bring.
However, as I logged on to my online business tax return I soon found out that I probably need help. How could I get help? I needed to understand what it is that an accountant could provide before dismissing out of hand the service they supply.
The pain of seeing the complexity of business tax returns made me seek out understanding of the solution available.
This is the first hurdle. As a customer I needed to understand that the service on offer could help me ease my pain. Before I started in business I didn’t feel the need to understand what it was that someone like an accountant could do for my business. Why? Because I was busy! I didn’t need to know what was on offer, and for me, it was an industry that would remain forever unnecessary to my industry.
But wait – it required me to hit a tax return brick wall before I understood the benefit of accountancy on my business, before that I dismissed it as irrelevant.
What if my customer isn’t actively searching for what it is I understand or they don’t understand the benefits of my service on their lives or business?
You want to speak to your market before they have the emergency situation that I found myself so when the emergency crops up, your market will know who can help them.
Understanding from Apple
Do you or your friends own a tablet device? Yes? Me too!
But who needed a tablet computer 6 years ago?
Do you own an iPod (or rather now, a smart phone that acts as your music player too?) Yes? Me too!
But who needed 1000 songs in your pocket before the iPod? Smart phones are now in the hands of over 80% of UK residents! (BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37468560)
If you remember the first tablet computer adverts they were all based around the benefits of the new technology on your life. How did the table enhance what you already do, how would the tablet make what I do easier in my day to day life?
Apple were making us, the consumer, understand what it meant to have their product in our lives. Nobody needed a tablet computer, but on the messaging level they made us understand the benefit to our lives by owning one.
Understanding the future (and past failures)
What do you think are the next great developments on our lives?
Today we are seeing advances in new technological fields like Virtual Reality (Business Insider article on VR adoption) and Smart Homes (Google smart home link), companies like Facebook, Google and Samsung are desperate for us to understand what it is the platforms can do for us – will it work? Who knows.
What didn’t seem to work was the re-launch of 3-D entertainment. People didn’t understand (and the product was always a bit rubbish!) the reason for wearing strange glasses in their own homes. It was a problem getting the public to buy in to the concept, which made the market un-economical.
Understanding on a local level – key points to take away
So what do you do to get your market to understand what you do and why what you do can benefit their lives or business?
Going back to the accountancy example. Many independent accountants have little to no marketing budget and I assume you do not have the marketing budget of a company like Apple either. Here are some quick wins and business hacks for the accountant, and you, to get on the right level with your business –
NOTE: many of this will cost you nothing but time and a few coffees!
- Treat this level of understanding as a cold market, someone you don’t know yet. If you meet someone you have never spoken to, would you immediately hit them up with a hard sell? Probably not. If you do, you are likely going to scare them off or build zero rapport with them
- Build your trust through conversation (not selling!).
- Consumers will eventually buy from people who they know, like & trust
- First understand yourself what it is your customer base need. They don’t have to know they need it yet, just know yourself how you can help.
- What drives them?
- What barriers do they have to purchasing from you?
- Identify where your market is hanging out
- Online – social media groups, blogs, forums, webinars
- Offline – events, groups, hobby events, networking
- Relate with them in their ‘hangout’ zones. Don’t bombard them with sales emails – remember, we all get way too many of them!
- Instead, talk on their level, be relatable and offer value for FREE.
- Build your brand persona with the market.
- This isn’t about selling yet, this is about building trust and an understanding of what you do
- Talk in their groups, attend their meetings, guest blog about your service in a context relevant to that market.
- Case studies from like minded people
- Past clients or current customers are the perfect way to help your market understand how you help people like them
- Host your own events
- Position yourself as an authority to add value to a consumer network and drip feed information about your product or service
- Always speak in the context of your potential consumer.
- People want to know how what you sell can help them and others like them. Remember the notion Learn, Apply, Implement.
I am currently developing many products and services to help my market understand the services I offer. People are not just going to part with money and time because you tell them how great you are – it doesn’t happen anymore.
- The Power Hour is a perfect introduction to the world of marketing with instant applicable wins for the businesses that attend
- Social media groups (join this group today for business owners like yours collaborating and sharing ideas!)
- Networking events are a great place to meet new likeminded, forward thinking businesses.
- Learning to deliver my message to larger groups through other companies like the Public Speaking Academy
- Growing my accountability groups which includes like minded business owners from other relatable industries. How many times have you heard the question asked ‘do you know anyone who can…’ This will position you as the one who can
Today’s consumer needs to understand how you can help them. How can you help them understand how you can help?
Learn, Apply, Implement.
How are you teaching your customer base about what you do or what you sell? Are you positioning this in a context that they understand (apply). This could be the first time your potential lead has heard about your service…frame it in the context they will understand – their own life.
Remember the Apple tablet example? They didn’t tell us how great Apple are and how much money they make. They related their product to our lives. They made us relate but building their personality into ours. You love music? Oh wow, does Apple! You see how this develops?
The points listed above are a fantastic start for you to help your market understand what it is you do. Your messaging here is very personable, it is soft in tone with the aim of building rapport. Build your story and your personality in the context of your target market.
We live in a globalised world with micro niches. You need to change your conversation to each micro niche. Luckily, this is easily achieved with digital tools that are available.
Check out our top 10 FREE resources for your business here (http://www.0114marketing.com) so you can easily tweak your messaging here to make sure your consumer understand what it is you do!
Essential Reading on this topic:
Expert Secrets – Russel Brunson – pick up your FREE copy here
7 Habits of highly effective people – Stephen Covey – available from Amazon here