When were you last surprised by something a client or customer said to you?
What did they say, and what did you learn from it?
Did you just dismiss it out of hand, or did it spark something useful?
Sometimes when we work our lil butts off to research what our audience thinks of us…
…about our products & services, our prices, how we stack up against ‘the competition’ (you don’t still believe you have competitors though, right?) and all the other stuff we might ask our customers & prospects via surveys, calls, interviews etc…
…we can get stuck in a rut.
Which is when we risk missing the really good stuff.
Sometimes we look too hard for common themes, recurring ideas, searching for patterns in the results like those people who see images of deities in their toast.
I’ve been there myself.
(The over-analysing common themes, not the faces-in-the-toast thing. Closest I ever got was seeing a cloud that looked like Lisa Simpson.)
But often, the most valuable marketing insights about WHY some people buy your stuff and why others don’t (yet) can come from the outliers:
The folks who surprise you when they talk about your products.
The unusual responses that seem to come from left-field, that make you think: “Huh. That never occurred to me. Now, what if…”
Sometimes we dismiss these insights as “too out there”, “too specific” or “not quite in line with our message”.
But when someone has a different use for your product, or a contrary view of your brand, or a unique point of view to share about what (or how) you sold them, it’s worth your consideration.
Sometimes they’re ahead of the game, and can give you a sneak peek of the turning tide of opinion that’s coming.
Other times they’re showing you what you need to change, or fix, or pursue.
And sure, sometimes they’re just completely nuts. It takes all kinds to make the world go round!
Just don’t dismiss their responses out of hand because they’re not what you expected.
In fact, dig in and really study the language they used to express themselves. Ask them to explain further, if you can.
(People like to be told when they’ve said something interesting.)
Jump down the rabbit hole of contrary opinions and keep digging – you just might find the key to unlocking a whole new audience of contrarians you can help.
Log your ‘surprising’ responses and review them from time to time so you don’t get too ‘narrow’ in your thinking.
After all, Selling Unique isn’t about toeing the line – it’s about uncovering and learning from uniqueness, both your own and your best customer’s.
There’s a great Confucius quote:
When we see persons of worth, we should think of equalling them.
When we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”
What can you learn from your own surprise at your audience’s insights and opinions?
How might those feelings improve how you communicate your unique value, or define your next product or service?
How can your response to them guide you to help more people?
Remember: A. B.
C. A. (Always Be Closing Asking!)