How to think like your customer?

12 replies
Especially when you are not your customer, but selling something to them. I'm not sure what questions I should even ask to find out how to think like my customer. I would really appreciate your input here.
#customer
  • Online forums that cater to your customer base are a great way to find out how they think, what words they use, what they buy, etc. If there are any forums dedicated to your audience, of course.

    Yahoo answers can be great too - you can type in questions revolving around your product into yahoo answers or even into google and see what comes up.

    Go to online stores that sell your product and read the comments.

    Read blogs and blog comments on your subject. Magazines dedicated to your niche.

    Forums are my favorite though!

    Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author blackli0n
    Forums are my favorite but it also helps to be a customer. Go shopping around for the product yourself and see what you find.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Moss
      Originally Posted by blackli0n View Post

      Forums are my favorite but it also helps to be a customer. Go shopping around for the product yourself and see what you find.
      ^ I think this is a good idea also.
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    • Profile picture of the author johndetlefs
      Originally Posted by blackli0n View Post

      Forums are my favorite but it also helps to be a customer. Go shopping around for the product yourself and see what you find.
      +1

      This is exactly what I do. It's a great way to check out the market while also getting inside your prospects heads at the same time.

      If it's sold on Amazon I also go scrounging around in the reviews to see what customers are saying, particularly looking at the negative reviews to get pain points or frustrations that customers need alleviated.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    Frank Kern has a video on YouTube called Core Influence that covers what you are asking::

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI8iBrTcPtc

    This is about a 2 hour presentation and the information about your question starts about 1:30 or so.

    Marvin
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  • Profile picture of the author kenzo22
    What is important, imagine that you know nothing about you, your company and your product etc. try to briefly and attractively give basic information so the person will get interested and trust you
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  • Profile picture of the author webrankingservices2000
    Banned
    Assume you want to buy the service, what all things you would be looking for before deciding on buying the service, just brainstorm
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by stanigator View Post

    Especially when you are not your customer, but selling something to them. I'm not sure what questions I should even ask to find out how to think like my customer. I would really appreciate your input here.
    Check out the sales copy of your successful competitors.

    Determine which emotions they're stirring. Which objections they're answering. What benefits they're claiming.

    Read the testimonials.

    You'll be surprised just how much you learn.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author ReferralCandy
    Hi stanigator,

    I think what's really important to know is what type of product are you selling, and who kind of demographics does your main consumer base consist of.
    If for example, you are selling mature female apparel for women from ages 25-40, then you can then focus on understanding the mindsets of that particular demographic group. Of course, your company will often have products that cater to various demographic groups, but it will certainly be helpful to identify them, and work from there.

    Once you have acknowledged those groups, understanding their buying habits would involve, as the other posters have contributed, checking out the main competitors or retailers that often target a similar demographic group, or going on forums to check out what they are saying or asking for. You could also keep an eye out for the types of products or details that you think your customers would be more attracted to, and check if your own store/site has that. Take note of advertisements, news articles and other forms of media to identify what types of advertisements are targeting that particular group, and why is it used in that way.

    Understanding your customers is a constant learning process, just like any other interpersonal relationship; so do put in the time and effort to understand your consumers.

    Cheers,
    -Hum
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    For a product I recently worked on, I put an ad up on Craigslist paying people $10 to interview them.

    We got a TON of responses.

    We also eneded up letting some of the people who responded try the product and got some great testimonials out of it.

    Anyway...

    I set up a series of questions that I asked people to understand their problems, what they tried, what worked, what didn't work, what their thoughts are on alternative medicine (hint, hint) and how their problem affected their lives.

    Got some great stuff and used quite a bit of it in the copy.

    Sometimes you have to think outside the box to discover how your customers think.

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Originally Posted by stanigator View Post

    Especially when you are not your customer, but selling something to them. I'm not sure what questions I should even ask to find out how to think like my customer. I would really appreciate your input here.
    The weakness of the CEO and executive team is that they know every aspect of their business better than anyone. They know every product they sell, every cost of goods, every reason someone says yes or no to buying it, and are a wealth of information that’s critical to product development. But where they go wrong is in transferring their intimate knowledge to the web, where the majority of visitors won’t have their insight. Often times what seems like a logical, common-sense layout or an important product feature to the CEO may not necessarily make sense to a customer who doesn't have their complete understanding of the thinking behind it.

    Your customers don't know you, and aren't familiar with your company. They don't care about your history, your revenue, how much your company donates to charity, or how many square feet your warehouse is. Those things aren't important to anyone but your competitors and shareholders. Do you care whether Pepsi made $1 million or $1 Billion last year? No, you just want a damn soda. Your customer just wants a solution to their problem, so every page on your site must do its job to reassure them that you have that solution.

    I usually start here... my kids are ages 5, 8, and 9. If I had to speak in front of their classes, how would I describe what I do (or what my product does) to them? Then repeat the same exercise, only a little less dumbed down, as if you were speaking to high school students or college freshmen.

    Doing this will help you break that barrier of "knowing too much", starting with the most basic mindset and then moving up to a mindset that can get the gist of what you're saying, but doesn't fully understand the inner workings - or need to. THAT is how your customer thinks. Forget all of your industry terms, because your customer doesn't know the right acronyms and phrases.

    I knew a guy who had a successful engineering firm, where they do laser measurements of building interiors and all of that kind of stuff, but his website never got him any business and he asked me why. I took a look and found it to be very well designed, and well organized with industry terms like "existing conditions floor plans" and plot plans and as-built floor plans, etc. His site actually ranked pretty well on those terms - the problem was a customer who needed his services would never search for that, The only people who were looking up those terms were other engineers, who didn't need him.

    I said "I own some real estate and a commercial building, and I don't know any of those terms. If I wanted to hire a company to figure out my actual interior space, I would probably just go to Google and type interior building measurement and my city".

    That's when the lightbulb went off, and now he's in the process of redesigning his site to reach buyers on their level instead of his. Too many of us are afraid of insulting our customers' intelligence, but the reality is a lack of expertise doesn't indicate a lack of intelligence. If they knew everything already, they wouldn't be hiring you or buying your products, so in a way you should always assume your customer doesn't know squat. They have a problem, you have a solution, but they don't know that yet - they only know how to inquire about their problem. So your messaging needs to be all about identifying their problem and solving it, not just the features of the solution.
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    Originally Posted by stanigator View Post

    Especially when you are not your customer, but selling something to them. I'm not sure what questions I should even ask to find out how to think like my customer. I would really appreciate your input here.
    Your goal, is to find out what specific pain/troubles certain markets have. Over- weight people, want to lose weight. Poor people, want to make money. People, with bad credit, want good credit. Think of the pain and frustration, your market has. Once you get that going, you can simply survey them and get more information.

    We can get, an idea of how our customers feel...the only true way is to research everything and dig even deeper. If you, are in the health niche/weight-loss...simply visit the top forums and see what people say, on these forums.

    They will, let you know...exactly what is bothering them and what brings them pain. Forums and other places give you, tons of answers!
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