Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tell Them

The story I'm about to share is from an occasional newsletter I get from Craig Arthur in Australia, the Wizard Chronicles.

I get my hair cut every 4 weeks.

Only about twice a year do they ever ask me if I want to buy any products.

Never, yes NEVER, have they ever told me why:

Are Your Assumptions... Restricting Your Business Growth?

Understanding Your Customer

By Sarah Ripley, Wizard of Ads Partner (Australia)

Being a consistent lover of assumption is like being a great lover of eating Fugu fish – a Japanese delicacy which contains poison in different parts of the body and can result in death of the eater if not prepared properly. It’s almost like playing Russian roulette but with your dinner.

This is how assumption works – 9 times out of 10, our assumptions will be correct, but can you afford the repercussions of that 1 in 10 occasion?

Business owners are often Fugu eaters – assuming that they know exactly who their customers are and what they want.

Consider the following case study:

A hairdresser sells high-end hair products including shampoo and conditioner, which average to be about three times the cost than that of supermarket brands.

To the average Josephine, she cannot recognise the difference other than the price – possibly assuming (there’s the Fugu again!) that the hairdresser products are most likely more expensive as they are high-end brand names and are therefore prestige pricing*.

On the contrary, there ARE chemical differences between salon products and what you buy in a supermarket as explained to me by the hairdresser. “But do customers really care that they are washing their hair in the same stuff that roads are made of?** asks the hairdresser. “I have never had a customer come in and ask about the ingredients or chemical make-up of the products I stock on my shelves, so I assumed that they didn’t care and it wasn’t important.”

Never discount the power of information.

Never discount what is interesting.

If there is something interesting and worth telling, do it. Tell the story. Particularly, (such as this case study), where you have a captive audience sitting on their butt’s in front of you.

Not all will buy because of your story, but a percentage will. Your sales will increase simply by telling your story.

Finally – never discount an outsider being able to identify what your customers may want better than you may. Have you ever looked for something, and can’t see it, no matter how hard you look? But, when you ask someone else for help, they see it straight away?

Assuming the Business Owner Knows Best is one of the most common mistakes in advertising.

The business owner is uniquely unqualified to see his company or product objectively. Too much product knowledge leads him to answer questions no one is asking. He’s on the inside looking out, trying to describe himself to a person on the outside looking in. It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. – Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads

Sometimes it helps to bring in an objective outsider to give you some perspective, and help tell your story.

Or would you prefer to eat Fugu and take the risk?

* Selling at a high price in order to create an aura of superior quality and social status.

** Supermarket or cheaper brands usually contain rubber-based silicon in the form of silicon oil, (common chemical name is Dimethicone), which is also used in making bitumen as an anti-foam agent. Hairdressing or brands that are more expensive use silk-based silicon instead.

Craig Arthur
Wizard of Ads - Helping Business Owners Attract, Convert & Delight Customers

PS. Need help to attract more customers and grow your business?

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