The Cost Of Not Getting Inside Your Buyer's Head

Published on July 8th, 2022

Entrepreneurs can become so enamored with their creations that they assume others will see what they see. The following is an embellishment, but it's a collection of actual snippets I've heard from founders over the years:

"Our product is amazing! People don't just want it. They need it! As soon as they see it, they will instantly see the value. I bet everyone will love it so much. They'll share it with their friends. And if everyone shares it with two people, we will have a viral loop, and this will take off. I bet we get to 1,000 users in a month. "

From here, it's just a matter of creating a throwing the product into an online store with a checkout page and slapping a product photo on it, right?

Yet, if you could sit next to your would-be customer and observe their body language, you might see something different. Confusion? A raised eyebrow? A look of doubt? Hesitation? What exactly are they thinking?!

If you were able to teleport into their mind, you might hear the following questions or objections:

  • "Why is this so expensive?"
  • "How do I know this works?"
  • "Are there any reviews so I can see if this is legit?"
  • "How do I get my money back if this doesn't work out?"
  • "Do I have the time to learn/set this up?"
  • "How will I get my boss to approve using this?"
  • "Will my spouse/kids want this too?"
  • "This website looks sketchy. Can I trust using my credit card here?"
  • "I'd rather buy this on Amazon vs. their site."
  • "Hmm. I wonder if someone else sells a better/cheaper version of this."

And so on and so on. So if any of these objections are a deal-breaker, you won't get that user to sign up or that customer to swipe their credit card.

So how does one bridge the gap between the entrepreneur's exuberance and the customer's doubt/confusion? It takes effort and empathy to walk through the entire buyer's journey from their vantage point.

There are several available tools:

  • Customer interviews
  • Usability tests
  • Focus groups
  • Customer surveys

Or just straight-up getting in conversation with customers and getting them to talk about their most significant pain points related to the product or service you sell. Ideally, you don't try to sell them too quickly. You are a surveyor trying to identify:

  1. The quantity and severity of the challenges they are facing.
  2. The cost (money, time, emotional pain, etc.) of not fixing these challenges.
  3. The benefit (money, time, emotional relief, etc.) of overcoming them.

That's it. Pay special attention to their exact phrasing, values, and beliefs that lead them to these conclusions. This can be powerful in knowing how to communicate our value proposition as well as figuring out the easiest path for them to buy or use your product/service.

What's the cost of not getting in your buyer's head? You may never have the chance to address all of their objections, losing the sale. More importantly, you lose the opportunity to deliver the solution they need. It's a lose-lose.

Never assume the value and ease of your products or services are obvious.

For those wanting to go even further, I love David Skok's work on this subject.

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CXO of Atomic Form. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.