Do you think your customers just “don’t get it”?

Every once in a while I hear someone make a comment about their customers like: “They just don’t get it.” Or, “what they don’t understand is…” The truth is, with any audience, when you hear yourself saying these words warning bells should start going off inside your head. Chances are, it’s not them, it’s you that doesn’t “get it.”

As I work with clients, or speak with prospective clients, it’s not uncommon for them to lament that their target audience just “doesn’t understand the value” of their products or services. That certainly can be a valid communication opportunity. But, in  my mind, the opportunity doesn’t lie in trying to come up with new and ever-more-creative ways to spin your messages to that audience. Instead, the real opportunity lies in turning the conversation around and listening to your audience.

Ultimately, it’s not so much about what it is that you have to sell as it is about what it is that they want to buy. If you haven’t spent the time to try to learn about what your audience’s attitudes, interests and opinions (AIO) are there’s a good chance that your communication is falling flat. But don’t view lack of action on the part of your prospects as a sign that you need to hit them over the head even harder. View it as an opportunity to seek feedback from them.

I had a conversation with a successful local business owner recently where he illustrated this point well. In his work, as he develops new customer solutions, he reaches out to and actually works with those in the market he wishes to serve to develop the solutions. These people (potential customers) are part of the process and their feedback helps him create a product that really resonates with them and truly meets their needs.

Then, when he gets to the point of communicating with his broader target audience, he has a very good idea of what’s important to them and how his product meets their needs. He humbly acknowledged that his customers always know more than he does. And he takes the time to learn from them so he can ensure that what he ultimately delivers will meet their needs.

His comments reminded me of a quote I heard recently that I really liked: “If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room.”

What opportunities do you have to learn from your customers?


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