How can you really understand your customers, their needs, and how to help them? We all struggle with this.
There’s a big difference between understanding customers from the perspective of an outsider looking in, as opposed to really seeing the world through their eyes — from the inside out.
What does this have to do with music?
Not long ago, I went to a concert and took in a remarkable performance by a Berlin-based musician, John Kameel Farah. It got me thinking about seeing things from the inside out.
John plays the harpsichord, and he is sponsored by a harpsichord maker in Toronto. He told us about the day the company delivered a harpsichord to his door. To John’s dismay, the keyboard was too small — it didn’t have the octave range that would allow him to play Bach.
John asked the company to replace this harpsichord with a bigger one. But the next day he opened his door to find, instead, a book of musical compositions by William Byrd, an English composer who predated Bach.
Byrd wrote his music for a smaller harpsichord than was common in Bach’s time. John gave it a try. He started playing Byrd’s compositions and exploring music that worked for a different keyboard.
John Kameel Farah got inside his new instrument
The lights came on for Farah when he received that book. Rather than trying to impose Bach onto a small keyboard, he learned the music made for that instrument. Doing so transformed his musical journey, he told us.
As someone who interviews buyers about their decisions, I was captivated by this story.
John had a vision for making beautiful music, but he encountered an obstacle. His “vendor,” the harpsichord company, gave deep, genuine consideration to his situation, going so far as to get inside his world, and challenging him to reframe his situation, in order to get fuller value.
As a metaphor for the buyer journey and for understanding the buyer’s needs, this gave me a lot to ponder.
Can you step in to your buyer’s world?
In every buyer interview we conduct, Eigenworks tries to get inside the buyer’s world. We try to understand the buyer’s vision for change and how it affected their decision-making (here’s how we capture and encode the resulting insights).
This interviewing approach is different from the sales approach of trying to rebut the buyer’s objections. Rather, we try to talk people into their position as deeply as possible. “Tell me more about that,” we say. Or, “why was that important to you?”
This helps us understand the buyer’s story as fully as possible. When we get it right, it strikes a chord, and we often hear — “Yes. That’s it. You’ve got it.”
Then, and only then, we can begin testing the story to determine the strength of the decision.
Getting the real story is job one. In an upcoming post, I’ll talk about how we can test your differentiators.