When we are operating a business, we are often told to try and think like the consumer. To ‘walk in their shoes’ or to ‘get inside their head’ and know what they are thinking and feeling. All this is done with the end goal of creating a better experience for the consumer or of providing them with exactly what they want.

I remember a story told by a famous copy writer about a fisherman. This was no ordinary fisherman. He had gained legendary status in fishing circles. He was always top of the trophy board. The fisherman was routinely famous for out fishing a boat of fisherman all by himself! And he did it with old school tackle. None of this fancy rod and reel stuff that his competitors had.

How Did He Manage To Do It?

He says the secret came to him years ago when he was thinking about how to catch more fish. He reasoned if his desire was to catch fish, then he needed to know everything he could about fish.

So he vigorously set about learning everything about fish. He learned their feeding habits, how they fed, when they fed, their migration habits, their relationship to currents, how they behaved in different types of water, how they fed in different seasons and weather conditions. He spent a lot of time studying the ocean, and weather. He studied the relationship the fish had to the ocean and weather.

His competitors were out studying to become better fisherman. They were investing their time in fishermen related things. Buying fancy lures or bait, upgrading their rod to the newest model and playing with their sonar fish finders.

Come tournament time, because the famous fisherman had spent so much time trying to think like a fish, he knew exactly what they, the fish, wanted. All the guess work was removed. So he would size up the weather, the currents and sea conditions, and he knew exactly where the fish would want to be feeding. So all he did was pick the right location to drop anchor, based on his intimate knowledge of the fish’s behavior, and cast out a line and start reeling them in.

Moral of the story: To catch fish, you need to think like a fish NOT like a fisherman.

Translation for the entrepreneur: To sell your product or promote your business, you need to think like the customer NOT like a businessman.

For the entrepreneur business person, we must always keep in mind our customers. Despite the fact what we want or think is best, our personal desires come second to the customer’s. It is something that is very hard to do, but the sooner you can start applying this principle, the better service you will be providing your customer.

Walk In Their Shoes

There are instances where by chance or luck we have walked in the shoes of our potential customers. Think of people who have transformed themselves through weight loss and are now sharing their methods with other people. They can relate to their potential customer in the most real sense, because at one stage they were in the exact position of that customer – the position of an overweight person looking for a weight loss solution.

Do you think they would know the emotional journey of their potential customers? What about the ‘hot buttons’ of the customers? Would they have a good idea of the doubts and fears that an overweight person has while looking at diet solutions? They would know the answer to all these questions and more, because they have personally been there.

If you are fortunate to be doing your entrepreneurial endeavors in an area where you were once in the shoes of the consumer, then that is great. You have been inside the head of the customer. You know their wants, needs, desires and objections.

Everything you offer should cater to their needs and help move them closer to their end goal. This can be applied to end product creation and also in the building of relationships with the potential customers. If you are in the information niche, it may be the offering the perfect free report you use for an email opt in, the content on your website or the angle of your email autoresponder series.

This type of insight into the mind of the potential customer can also be gained from having a lot of contact with that type of customer. Think of some personal trainers at the gym. They would know all the nuances associated with weight loss and the head space that someone who is trying to lose weight occupies. Simply because they have spent considerable time communicating and being around overweight people.

At times you may find yourself entering a market which is way out of your comfort zone and you may venture into totally new territory, which you have no idea about. This is common in affiliate marketing, especially when you are promoting the next ‘hot thing’ or a high converting product.

What If You Don’t Have Experience Being A Consumer In Your Niche Or The Niche You Are Entering Is New For You?

Then you need to do some investigative work and role playing. You can discover this by visiting sites like these:

Above is a list of forums, websites and blogs. Find and hang out in forums related to your niche. Be a fly on the wall. Do some market research. See what people in the niche are talking about, how they are talking about it, what frustrates them, what hopes they have, what obstacles they face, etc.

Sometimes, you may have to pick up some new lingo to converse on the same level as potential customers. Outside the seduction niche if I used the words PUA, SHB and AFC, they mean nothing to you. But within that niche, this is their language and if you don’t use it then you may not be accepted as ‘real’.

To take it a step further, after your research you want to create a fictional avatar of your potential customer. Give them a name, find a photo on the internet of what you think they would look like. You want to be able to write ‘their story’. Who they are, what they want, what they are currently doing, what frustrates them, what are their dreams and goals etc.

Now to really get inside their head you can use what is called an empathy map. The empathy map represents aspects of that person’s sensory experience. What they are thinking, feeling, saying, doing and hearing. Filling it out is a really great way of “getting to know” all aspect of the person.

When it comes to doing anything related to promoting your business or product you simply look at the avatar you have created and write as if you were writing to them. So now all communication you do for your business is more focused on your potential customer. You are writing to a ‘real person’, you are communicating to a ‘real person’, you are helping a ‘real person’ get one step closer to their goal.

Knowing your potential customer well can only help you provide them with a better service, and if you can help people achieve their goals better, then this ultimately leads to a more successful business for yourself.

Yaro Starak