January 13, 2009

Human Behavior And Other Assumptions

There is much chatter these days about action. Amid tough times we must find better ways to move forward. One of the best ways is through integration.

This is not about product placement or infomercials or sales calls or hidden agendas. This is about entering every relationship at as close to the beginning of a project as possible and being aware of the needs of everyone involved.

Something To Remember
Recently a colleague was frustrated with a customer because she kept changing her mind then asking for more time to make a decision. Too often people would rather avoid the short no by giving you a long maybe. Too often we want to lay hope in the maybe that it will become a yes.

In this case, it was too early in the process but my colleague did fail to remember one crucial word that best described this person – customer.

They Owe You Nothing
Most of the time a viewer, customer, listener, visitor, colleague or friend will make the decision that best suits their needs when it is convenient for them. We shouldn't be surprised, we operate the same way!

All the data in the world is useless without action. All the suspicion one can muster won’t change the responses of real people. Most scratch their heads when sales are down because the silent majority will not write a complaint email or call you; they will simply go somewhere else.

I Know What I’m Talking About
We are often too close to our own situation. My experience hosting focus groups and research projects taught me that people like what they like and don’t respond a certain way simply because that is our desire. A new logo, a better marketing campaign, a better looking spokesperson, or a nice PowerPoint presentation won’t change the situation if your customer is closed to new ideas.

If they are open to new ideas, it’s imperative to find out the parameters.

How many times have you heard this one – I like all types of music. My response usually is: Do you like Baroque or Bluegrass? We humans exaggerate and embellish - duh. This is never more evident than when you are asking questions for research.

Consensus and Average
It would be silly to suggest we can ask every single customer and potential customer for their input but in a user-made have-it-now time, we can’t expect everyone to fall in line.

Demographics, income levels, educational background or geographical origin can give you insight, but these factors are simply a guide. My dad is on Facebook and my niece likes jazz.

Be Ready For Their Answer
If you are going to ask for opinions, be prepared to hear the answers. If your goal is to simply confirm your theories, save your time and money. Entering in to any relationship with preconceived notions is dangerous.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts.


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