Lesson II- How To Read Your Customer’s Minds
Previous Lesson: click HERE to go to the previous lesson
Hey there! It’s Michael.
Do you know exactly who your customer is and what they want?
Wait, shut up. In one sentence right now can you tell me exactly what they’re thinking?
Okay, maybe mind-reading down to the exact thought isn’t possible (yet). But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know exactly who your customer is, what they want, and the value that you are providing them.
If you don’t have the clarity to be able to define this in just one sentence, then one makes you think you’ll have any ability to successfully market your products & services?
In my previous lesson I told you about my first e-com store, and how it was an utter disaster. I said that it failed because I didn’t properly test anything.
Well in addition to not testing, I also didn’t have clarity of intent. I didn’t know exactly who my customer would be, what they were thinking, and how to close them.
You need to be able to define a specific person and define how you’ll close them- in one sentence or less.
This is one of the harder, less juicy parts about marketing and business… It takes time and engages a part of the brain that we feel resistant to using. Just visualize how awesome it will be when you finally get your business going because this part is necessary for the other lessons to work.
Here’s what we’re covering:
- What the real value of your product or service is
- Understanding why people buy your product or service
- Why you need to define your mission in one sentence or less
Ready? Let’s dive into this!
Why Do People Buy?
Can you guess why someone purchases anything? Think of your last purchase: why did you get it?
There could be a multitude of surface-level reasons why you purchased that last product. You might want to look more attractive, earn more money, save time, enjoy a great meal, appear high-status, oh there are a million reasons why you could’ve purchased.
It all boils down to two mechanisms in the human brain. All of the above reasons have something in common, and your reason has this in common as well.
Humans buy to increase pleasure or decrease pain. That’s all there is to it.
Take a moment now to reflect upon your answer of why you purchased that last product or service, and how it increased pleasure anddecreased pain.
If you ate a sandwich, it was because it was tasty (more pleasure), and it took away hunger or a craving (decrease pain).
If you bought a video game, it was to distract yourself from boredom (decrease pain) and/or find pleasure in an adventure, shooter, etc. (more pleasure).
If you buy a fancy car instead of a basic car, it was to feel high status (increase pain and ease feelings of not being worthy).
EVERYTHING we do it life basically boils down to the principle that humans seek to increase pleasure and decrease pain.
“But Michael, what about disciplinary activities, such as working out hard? That’s surely painful, right?”
Nope. Even in the case of highly motivated individuals who “endure pain,” they are doing so still with this principle in mind of increasing pleasure and decreasing pain.
The high-level athletes often get a “runner’s high” or “post-workout high” of endorphins which feels vastly more pleasing than the temporary pain. They also feel a sense of increased status, fitness, mobility, and energy which further increases pain which makes the pain worth it.
On an interesting sidenote, this also means that if you want to motivate yourself to do anything (ie. get to the gym) you can visualize on the end pleasing result (that fit body) which will motivate you to go through the temporary pain.
Back on track:
Understanding Your Product
In order to read anyone’s mind, you first have to be able to understand yourself and what you have to offer first so that we don’t go running off to sell your product to the wrong group of people.
Now that we know why people buy anything, we can understand the true value of your product or service!
Take out a notepad now and create a list of reasons why someone would purchase your product or service for the reason of increasing pleasure.
Then next to it write down a list of reasons why someone would purchase your product or service for the reason of decreasing pain.
This should take quite a few minutes. Be creative in your ideas- people will purchase if you find a way to increase pleasure or decrease pain!
Once you have this list re-read it a few times and commit the important points to memory.
Let me give you an example with my services as a digital marketer.
My digital marketing services increase pleasure by getting clients new sales, leads, and branding. I handle their marketing & online presence.
My services also decrease pain by saving the client time & energy that would be spent learning digital marketing, or they simply may not have the time as they’re too busy in other parts of their business.
There are many other reasons someone would enjoy my services, but these are the important ones that I have committed to memory.
Reducing Salesman Guilt
One of the reasons it is very important to memorize the value of your product or service is that it reduces guilt while selling. No one wants to feel like they’re manipulating anyone, so if you can understand the true value of your product, then you realize it is a missionto give it to people because you’re actually helping them!
What if your product isn’t that valuable?
In most cases people will gladly discover in this exercise that their product or service is far more valuable than they imagined. They’ll be able to list our several “increasing pleasures” and often even more “decreasing pains” allowing them to feel a renewed sense of confidence in their business.
But, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you awaken to the unfortunate reality your product or service is as valuable as a pile of dead flies.
My first e-com store was created with the intention of making a quick, easy buck- not with creating a valuable product or service.
While some people are sword & knife enthusiasts, I was not so much. I didn’t “get” the market and couldn’t list out good people would purchase my product.
I wasn’t sold on my own product, so I couldn’t sell it to others.
If you find yourself in this situation of going “oh S*&@, I’m not sold on my own product,” then don’t expect people to buy from you!
You should be so sold in your product/service that it isn’t even a question whether someone should purchase!
If you aren’t go back to the drawing board and fix up or replace your product or service with something that greatly increases pleasure or decreases pain.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. The “fidget spinner” wasn’t an expensive or grand product but it was oddly pleasing and helped people focus or deal with boredom.
Keep it simple: increase pleasure and decrease pain. That’s it.
Understanding who purchases from you
Now that you know your product or service inside and out, it should be easier to figure out who exactly is a good fit for your product or service.
If you’re a real estate agent, it’s obvious that your ideal audience is someone looking to purchase a home. But who exactly is that?
This is where some more deep thinking comes into play. Think about the average customer who purchases your product or service, not the outliers.
For example not many 19 year olds are in the market of purchasing a home. While it does happen here or there, you would not want to market to a 19 year old as this is likely an extremely niche market (unless you are that niche, in which case, good for you!).
Having worked with real estate agents I can give the example that they are typically married couples age 25-55. This range has always worked best with Facebook ads.
Often they have a newborn or are looking to expand their family, which is one of the reasons they would want to upgrade to a home with more rooms.
Alternatively there are those (the 45-55 age range) who have children moving out and wish to downsize their home in order to save cash.
Anyways, set the example aside for now. Back on you.
Look back at that list of “increasing pleasures” and “decreasing pains” for your product or service. Think of what the demographic and psychographic would be for your average customer.
Demographics are basic information such as age, sex, single/taken, and location. It’s easily measured.
Psychographics are a newer term used to describe behavioral information such as interests, hobbies, and activities participated in. This includes an interest in golfing, travels frequently, etc.
Take a few minutes now to write down exactly who you think your ideal customer is, based on the increasing pleasures & decreasing pains of your product. Who needs it?
Another example: if you are a mechanic your ideal customer would be a car owner located within an x mile radius (depending on how dense your city is) from your shop that isn’t tech-savvy enough to handle repairs & oil changes on their own.
At this point we now know why people buy, why someone would buy your product, and exactly who your ideal customer is.
Defining Your Mission in One Sentence or Less
There’s one final thing we have to do before we can “read our customers’ minds.” Don’t worry, I promise we’ll get there.
Using all of the information we have we need to clearly define who our customers are, what your offer is, and why people purchase your offer.
Understanding this brings a clarity of intent to all of your marketing & business activities allowing you to save time & money on things which wouldn’t work.
Take a few minutes now to reflect and decide what your single-sentence statement is. It doesn’t have to include all of the benefits, bonuses, or little demographic details. Keep it general because you already know the specifics because you did the exercises, right?
Let’s give some examples:
For my own business: “I help business owners grow their businesses via digital marketing.”
For a real estate agent: “Bob helps new families find their perfect home.”
For Ownage Pranks (former client of mine): “Ownage Pranks produces funny prank content to entertain people.”
Notice how simple these statements are. They include who you are, what your offer is, and the main problem that is being solved.
Ownage Pranks (the who) produces funny prank content (what the offer is) to entertain people (the implication being that people are bored or in desire of mischievous entertainment).
What about all that work we did prior?
Yeah, I know I just made you write out all the pleasures & pains and all this stuff just to arrive at this simple statement. That’s where the reading of customers minds comes in- but one more thing to cover before that.
The reason we need to make this simple statement is because it aligns your entire business into something easy to remember for both yourself and for customers.
Every large corporation does a great job of doing this in their marketing campaigns. Think about it:
What do you think of when I say “McDonald’s?” Like it is cheap, fast burgers.
What about “Starbucks?” Cheap, fast, good coffee.
What about “Walmart?” Affordable “everything-store” for all basic purchases grocery & otherwise.
Those 3 examples all included cheap or affordable, so let’s do one final example that’s not that:
“Ferrari.” Sexy, luxurious cars that everyone wants.
Just by saying a single word we can see how in our minds a picture is instantly created of each company’s mission statement.
There are many “increasing pleasure’s” and “decreasing pains” with each of these companies, but in addition to all of those things there is a clear, single statement association between the name and what value is provided.
How To Read Your Customer’s Minds
You now know who you want to sell to. You can tell them in one sentence exactly who you are and the main problem you solve. You also have a large list of reasons your product is valuable via increasing pleasure or decreasing pain.
You might not believe me, but suddenly marketing got incredibly easy. All we do is create campaigns that demonstrate the value that center around your single mission statement.
What we are doing here is making the process of marketing your business systematic rather than random. We are making everything data-driven rather than shooting in the dark.
Let’s say someone- your ideal customer- walks into your clothing store but doesn’t purchase anything. Why wouldn’t they purchase if they’re your ideal customer?
There could only be three reasons:
The first is that they legitimately don’t have the funds to purchase right now, but they’re instead preparing for a purchase in the future.
The second is that they want to purchase but are afraid that they can’t return the clothing if they change their mind later. In this case, you should have a clear refund policy that works in the customer’s favor.
A lot of people don’t like doing this but it increases total sales overall. While some customers will take advantage of it, others will purchase that otherwise wouldn’t, making up for the damages and then some.
Finally and most likely, the value of your product or service was not clearly communicated somehow.
Remember in the last lesson how I said “you can’t build it and have them come?”
Even if you have a customer in your shop that’s true. Marketing is nearly everything, for without communicating your product then no one could possibly understand how it benefits them.
Whenever someone leaves your store, or doesn’t buy online, I encourage you to try to get feedback on why. For my own business I encourage healthy criticism from clients because it allows me to improve my service.
Almost always it is an issue of the value not being understood. If your product is truly valuable (remember, you can’t sell a pile of poo and get away with it) and the customer has the funds to purchase (which they typically do) then it’s your fault they didn’t purchase.
Somehow you have to adjust the marketing campaign, ad copy, or signs inside your store.
This is where that great list of increasing pleasures & decreasing pains comes in. Listen to your customers and then reference that list to ease their objections.
Typically people are worried whether the product or service will work for them, so you need to communicate just how valuable it is for them.
Occasionally someone who appears to be an ideal customer walks into your store or visits your website but turns out not to be an ideal fit for your product or service. In that case let them leave, being pushy or salesy is only gonna hurt you in the end.
Wow, this was a long lesson! Please take some time to chill out and really digest it.
Let’s take a look at what we covered:
- People purchase to increase pleasure or decrease pain
- You need a list of why your product is value based on the pleasure/pain principle
- Understanding your product’s value removes fear or guilt of selling
- If your product isn’t truly valuable, fix that first
- You need to clearly define your customer’s demographics & psychographics
- Finally you need a single, simple mission statement
- The mission statement aligns all your business activities
- When an ideal customer doesn’t purchase, we can reference the “increasing pleasure” or “decreasing pain” list to understand which point wasn’t clearly communicated
- A great refund policy for the customer’s favor removes fear of being scammed
- Almost all problems come as a result of not clearly communicating the value of your product
Congratulations! This was long, but I hope you found it valuable.
You now have what I like to call clarity of intent. By clearly defining everything into a simple sentence you better understand your business which allows you to better understand how you can help people with your business!
To better solidify this knowledge for the future lessons, I would like to ask of you that you please make sure your homework is complete.
Sure it’s a bit cheesy to call it homework because this isn’t traditional teaching, but I’m offering to review every reply free-of-charge. Hit “reply” and send me the following:
- What is your product?
- How does your product increase pleasure?
- How does your product decrease pain?
- How does understanding this reduce guilt or fear revolving sales?
- What should you do if your product isn’t that valuable?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What is your single sentence mission statement?
- If an ideal customer doesn’t purchase, what should we do?
Tomorrow is when things get really juicy. I’m gonna teach you how to crush the competition like ants.
I’m looking forward to your responses, and as always, if you have any feedback feel free to let me know!
For now, take a rest. You’ve earned it.
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