EP13 – How To Sell Without Being Fake – Part 1 – Define Customer Values

This is the first episode in a new series about selling without being fake. In this episode, we talk about clearly defining what your customer values and developing an effective customer survey.

Podcast Transcript:

Joshua MacLeod:
Number one thought; you are not your target audience. Don’t think like yourself. What if your product had a much larger customer base than you ever dreamed of?

Podcast Announcer:
Welcome to the Growability podcast, teaching business and nonprofit leaders a more excellent way to run a business. Visit growability.com for your leadership, coaching, consultation and business collaboration needs. This is the first episode in a new series about selling without being fake. In this episode, we talk about clearly defining what your customer values and developing an effective customer survey. Here are your hosts, Joshua MacLeod, and Bernie Anderson.

Bernie Anderson:
What is the first thing you need to think about when you’re going to sell a product or service?

Joshua MacLeod:
I have an answer to that and I’ll give you an illustration.

Bernie Anderson:
Excellent.

Joshua MacLeod:
The answer is, and I try to just get this drilled into the head of any entrepreneur that I ever work with. It’s said early, it’s said often, and it is this; you are not your target audience! You are not your target customer. Your target customer is your target customer, but you are not your target customer. Think about this. When Crocs, when they first came out, they had this amazing idea to create boat shoes. So Crocs didn’t come out as like a cushy shoe for kids and celebrities. Crocs actually came out when they brought their product to the market, they were trying to design a better boat shoe. You know, if they get fish guts or whatever, you just spray them off and they’re just ready to go.

Joshua MacLeod:
They were at a boat show and they had, they had ordered 200 of these proprietary boat shoes and they sold them out at the first show. So think about this. The people who made Crocs, they had no idea the market that was available to Crocs. They were thinking, hey, why don’t we actually develop a product for all the boating enthusiasts out there and then we’ll sell them. What happened was some famous people, apparently were at this boat show, bought the Crocs, and now there’s like a social media post where, you know, Jennifer Aniston or something like that is wearing Crocs. And now everybody like where did you get those shoes? Those must be cool because my celebrity is wearing these shoes. And in 2007, George Bush wears black Crocs with socks. In August, 2009, Michelle Obama was wearing Crocs with her daughter. In June 14th, 2015, prince George son of prince William and Kate Middleton was wearing Crocs and the week after that, they had a 1500% increase of sales.

Joshua MacLeod:
Enough people started buying Crocs that were a status symbol until… Somebody put them on their kid. And then it was like, this is the super shoe. My kid, I don’t have to tie laces. I don’t have to find socks. I don’t have to do anything. They can put them on themselves. And now it’s like, these things are amazing kids’ shoes. They can get totally muddy. I take them outside. I spray them off with the hose. I guess the whole point of all of that is, what if your product had a much larger customer base than you ever dreamed of, but in order to embrace that customer base, in order to get into that market, you have to stop thinking of boat shoes and you have to start thinking about kids’ shoes and celebrity shoes and things like that.

Joshua MacLeod:
So, number one thought you are not your target audience. Don’t think like yourself. Secondarily, you want to figure out what is it that your customer, your target customer, really values. So that… The first is the big three; cost, speed and reliability. If I could only choose one of them as most important to my customer, what is it going to be? Cost, speed or reliability. So Apple, is their primary value that they add. Is it cost, speed or reliability, but what would you say?

Bernie Anderson:
Reliability? A hundred percent.

Joshua MacLeod:
Yeah. Reliability. It’s not cheap. It’s going to cost a lot.

Bernie Anderson:
The speed is not… I mean, they’re pretty good. They’re whole like shipping, receiving like. You can order something and get it to you pretty quick, but.

Joshua MacLeod:
Maybe not Amazon quick or.

Bernie Anderson:
Yeah. Maybe not Amazon quick.

Joshua MacLeod:
Yeah.

Bernie Anderson:
Well Amazon is another one. So Amazon…

Joshua MacLeod:
Amazon is speed, all day long.

Bernie Anderson:
It’s speed right now. Which is why like, so I’ve had an issue with Amazon, this weird thing that’s happened to me over the last like, month I’ve ordered like probably something once a week from Amazon, at least. Right? And over the last month, out of eight orders that I’ve made, four of them have either gotten lost or were delayed. And it’s like, what? Why? Like I was so annoyed, but it’s because Amazon’s not selling me, you know, this little stand right here. Amazon is selling me speed I can rely… I know it’s going to get here when they say it’s going to get here. And when it didn’t, I mean, it was like super annoying.

Joshua MacLeod:
Yeah. I’m thinking of any number of brands that would be based on the whole cost thing. So if I go into the supermarket, I’ve got Oreos and then sitting right next to Oreos is “Why Pay More” cookie wafers with the cream center? It’s like, yeah… So they’re not… Their primary thing is, hey, why pay more? Here’s the cost saving. We as consumers, we are already classifying somebody into… Is cost the primary emphasis here? Is speed the primary emphasis here, or is reliability? We put that filter on automatically.

Bernie Anderson:
We do.

Joshua MacLeod:
And then I really move into the second.

Bernie Anderson:
Hey, let me ask you this Joshua. In late, like, okay. So primary value. What is the primary value of Growability?

Joshua MacLeod:
Oh, fundamental reliability.

Bernie Anderson:
Yeah. When somebody hires a Growability coach or consultant, like I’m saying to them, the tools and the products that we are going to give you are tested and true and safe. Now we’re not cheap. And I’m looking at booking out clients a couple months ahead right now. Cause it’s like, well, my, my docket is pretty full. So speed and cost are, are a little bit higher. But when you bring in Growability, you’re going to get a reliable product. So what would you say then if we could only afford to provide one secondary value to our clients and customers? What would you say our secondary value would be?

Joshua MacLeod:
I like to think of five things in the secondary value set. One. What kind of feeling or emotion does your target customer need to elicit? Simplicity? Is this easy to use? Beauty or status? Like what does this do for my status? Flexibility. How many different things can this do? Or a specific unique feature that maybe is a scarcity thing where only your product actually provides this. So emotion or feeling simplicity, status, or beauty flexibility, or a unique feature set. I would say simplicity, if I can only provide one thing is reliability from a primary and a secondary, it would be simplicity. I want this thing to be easy to use. So I think our first one is reliability our second is simplicity.

Bernie Anderson:
So yeah, I think Joshua, it’s a good idea for anybody who’s a leader of an organization to ask those two questions of their organization. What is our primary value add? What is our secondary value add? I think those are really important questions for leaders to answer and to be able to answer our primary values, effectiveness, cost, or speed, our secondary value is going to be flexibility, aesthetic appeal, emotion, status, you know, all of the other things.

Joshua MacLeod:
Absolutely. Yeah. And we’ve the light bulb goes off a lot of times with clients where I’m asking them, if you could only afford one, what would it be in the top three? And then on the secondary, if you could only afford one, what would it be? And then of course the follow-up question is, okay, if you could only afford two, if you could only afford three. Then it’s like, wait, we can only afford two, right?

Joshua MacLeod:
Because the worst thing you can do is promise a value and then not actually be able to provide that value. In order for you to serve a customer, you have to look and ask what is that value that I want to provide to my customer? And then you’ve got to spend money to actually provide that value. So not all value adds are equal because different customers are looking for different things. So when I look at the primary customer of my business or the customer that is going to keep me in business, the one that pays the bulk of my salary, what is valuable to them. And then I have to invest to add that value. Now, as much as I would love anything I would love to, for every Growability client, I want to give the cheapest costs, the fastest turnaround, the most reliable product offering. And then I want there to be an emotional, good feeling when you open your workbook and I want it to be simple and I want it to raise your status as a Growability company. And I want to have flexible where we…

Bernie Anderson:
Growability stickers on the back of the car. Growability of Toyota.

Joshua MacLeod:
Yeah. And, and offer all these unique features. I can’t afford to do that for all of my clients. So what I have to do is I have to go down and I have to say, okay, well, I’m going to be reliable. I’m going to be simple. This is what we have to charge to make that happen. As we grow and get a million customers, and maybe I’ll start adding some of those additional sets, but yeah. Yeah. Okay.

Bernie Anderson:
Is there anything else with that you want to add as far as how to get out of your own head and start thinking like your own customer?

Joshua MacLeod:
I mean the other thing, Bernie is not so obvious, but it really should be is… “Ask your customer.” So whenever somebody wants to start a business, they’re like, should I get a website? Should I get a brand? Should I get my business cards and all that? And I’m like, no, get five customers. And then find out from those five customers, what do they primarily value about your organization? Once you have five customers, get 50 customers. Once you have 50 customers, now you can build your brand and your website because you’re actually understanding your product and your offering and what it is that people care about. When somebody buys your product or service, here’s the survey to ask them.

Bernie Anderson:
Yeah. As you look that up, Joshua, I do just, to reiterate, when you go to the issue of brand and will you need to have a website. We need to have the right brand. We need to have a good logo. We need to have… And all of those things are important. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. But if you don’t have a customer, you don’t have a business.

Bernie Anderson:
Like, like it seems really obvious and should be super kind of intuitive, but I believe there are people that think if you have a brand, you have a business and that’s just not the case. Being customer centric and customer focused and how you go about your business is just absolutely critical, and not always done as intuitively as we would. I think that it should be.

Joshua MacLeod:
So, yeah. So here’s the questions you should ask your first 50 customers. Now, anybody that’s already past their first 50 customers, actually, most people don’t actually ask this. So here’s the question you should ask your next 50. So number one; how did you first come in contact with our product or service. Then what was the need that you were trying to address? Number three; why did you choose us? What was unique about our company? What are our strengths?

Joshua MacLeod:
And then what is the impact of using our product or service? Give me an example. And then, Hey, what can we do to even be better? To get inside of the head of your customers, there is no better way than to ask your customer. Why did you choose this? What did you think? So then I hear from 10 different customers, you know what? You’re so reliable. So now when I’m selling my product, I’m not selling my product saying we are so reliable because I think we’re reliable. I’m saying we’re so reliable… Like here’s 10 customers that said we’re reliable.

Joshua MacLeod:
So I’m actually selling the confidence of hearing my customers talk about what they value allows me not to be fake. I’m not selling anything. I’m just, I’m quoting some objective reality of feedback that we’ve got from our customers. I never get that feedback if I don’t ask for the questions. So this is a good thing. If you are listening to the podcast or you are on our live lunch and learn, and you want our customer interview questions, send an email to Joshua or bernie@growability.com and we will send you that form.

Bernie Anderson:
Wow. We’re giving away free stuff.

Joshua MacLeod:
Hey, like sound advice. This is how valuable man. Like, really.

Bernie Anderson:
I love it. I love it.

Joshua MacLeod:
It sounds like reliability coming out here. That’s right.

Podcast Announcer:
Thank you for listening to the Growability podcast. The mission of Growability is to equip leaders to flourish in their life and work by developing vision, rhythm, and community. To discover if there is a more excellent way to run your business, visit growability.com and speak with a certified Growability coach. Bernie and Joshua are also available for speaking engagements, workshops and conferences. Subscribing to the podcast helps Growability, equipped leaders throughout the world. And we appreciate your support.