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Jul
23 2011

How attuned are you to your customers’ Persuasion Drivers?

Syndicated from: The Essential Message

How attuned are you to your customers’ Persuasion Drivers? In coaching, we talk about meeting your client where he or she is. In mediation and conflict resolution, we talk about seeing things from the other person’s point of view. In customer service and sales communications, we talk about creating a customer-centric business. In industrial design, we talk about designing the user-centred experience — adapting systems, objects and interfaces to fit the user instead of the other way around. In the Essential Message, we learn how to frame a competitive advantage and guide a conversation based on a genuine understanding of the other person’s ‘Persuasion Drivers’. This principle is so pervasive and universal, you’d think that everyone in the world would have a deeply engrained habit and ability to walk in the other person’s boots and see their business through the eyes of the customer. And in fact, just about everyone claims to do it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be the case. How to walk in your customer’s boots 101. Last week a company emailed me a proposal as a PDF attachment. The filename was ‘Essential_Message.pdf’. On the same day I received an electronic invoice from a supplier — the filename was ‘EssentialMessageINV.pdf’. And, just yesterday a potential partner emailed me a document in which he outlined his ideas on a new service we could offer as a joint venture. The filename? Yup, it was ‘EssentialMessage.pdf’. And when I asked for a copy of an invoice from one of the top five hotel chains in the world, I had to rename the file they sent me before saving it to my hard drive in order to keep it from getting lost forever in all the other similarly named files. In all the (real) examples above, the company named the file in a way that made sense for their systems and processes, but were counter-productive and frustrating for the customer. If they can’t be customer-centric for such a ‘little’ thing as naming a computer file, what can we expect from them with the big things? These files are named in a way that make sense to the people who created them, but they make no sense to me! Take this test! Walking in your customer’s boot and seeing your business through their eyes is more than just a strategy — it’s a mindset that influences everything you do, right down to how you name the files you send your current and future clients. 1. Document filenames: Begin by considering what I’ve written about so far, and check the last file you sent to a client or strategic partner. Would they instantly know from the filename what the document is and why they have it on their computer? If yes, give yourself 2 points. 2. Your email signature and contact information: How easy is it for someone to add your contact information from your email into their addressbook? If you have all your information in your signature, give yourself 2 points. If you have created a Vcard (.vcf) of your contact information, give yourself 4 points.(If you have no idea what I am talking about, take 30 seconds and search for, ‘how to create a vcard’.) 3. Meeting invitations: Online calendars allow you to create an event and then invite others to it. If they accept your invitation, the event is automatically added to their calendar. While not everyone uses digital tools, give yourself 2 points if you send meeting requests and other events in a form that makes it easy for people to add them to their own calendars. But, if you name your events, ‘Phone meeting with Michel’ or something equally useless to the other person, deduct 4 points Don’t laugh, this happened to me — and when my calendar alarm highlighted the event, I had no clue who I was supposed to call! So the next time you look at ways to grow your business, start with the simple things you do every day: look at the proposals, event invitations, sales letters, invoices and other correspondence you send out. If the titles and filenames fit your system better than it does theirs, that may be an indication you could use a little help in looking at your business through the eyes of your customer. Starting with the simple things gives you the practice you need to develop the right mindset for when you tackle the more difficult things, like describing your business in terms of the challenges you solve instead of the benefits you promise. (Hint, those challenges are your customers’ Persuasion Drivers!) As for the company that sent me their proposal, I’ll still give them serious consideration — as soon as I figure out where the file is on my computer…. Essentially yours, Michel Neray Chief Differentiation Officer The Essential Message P.S. Have you seen other examples where even the best-meaning people and businesses are a little less attuned to the needs of the people they serve than they might think they are? Post your comments here!

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