I want to talk about your audience. Your customer.
You’ve heard me drone on about always keeping your impact on the customer front and center in everything you do. “Always speak and write and position yourself around the IMPACT or transformation you give the client.” How many times have you read some version of this from me?
This past week was super busy getting the Keep the Lights On Forum organized. And I gotta share the rabbit hole I accidentally tumbled down. Here’s what happened.
We needed a speaker. I finally figured out that the best gift to the audience would be a person who could share some wisdom on resiliency. I reached out to someone I knew professionally.
Things went sideways
Five days later, I still had not received an acknowledgement. I belong to the old-fashioned school of thought that if someone reaches out to you about a potential business piece, you respond within 24 hours. I mentioned my predicament to an American colleague. Bless him; he sent me the directory of the Canadian Association of Public Speakers.
The lady I chose had a clear message. ”With my proven problem-solving framework and fresh perspectives, you’ll solve problems, build resilience and amplify capacity.” Honestly, this marketing line did not immediately get my heart racing because I could not figure out what kind of feeling she would evoke or how the audience would be better after listening to her.
However, I wanted my audience to walk away with something very tangible from the session. So, I read further. “Using my universal problem-solving framework and the proven concepts within each section, I show you a better, less stressful way to do all you do. “ Hot damn – something in the way of concrete outcomes here. A bit more reading, and I knew this lady would over-deliver to the Keep the Lights On Forum.
Monday morning at 6:30, I reached out to her. By Tuesday morning, it was still crickets. Now, in full-on panic mode, I posted on social media looking for recommendations for a resilience speaker. Inside of 90 minutes, I had 30 suggestions. That is an abundant basket of goodness, isn’t it? Not quite.
What do we, the customer want?
It seems that even in the speaking world, most haven’t yet got the message that what they sell is about how they transform or change the lives of the customers. I will use the example of the speakers for this little story. However, we all can take some of the ideas here and apply them to our own businesses.
The number one thing any of us want is a solution to our problem. We may not articulate that problem particularly well. But we know we want help. And we know we’ve found that help when we see it. The human brain is assuredly not logical, and our thought process definitely not linear.
Of the 30 suggestions, four were for the lady I had chosen. I decided she was likely super busy and proceeded to the other 26. That is when things got very interesting.
Many recommendations came for people who had beaten cancer or some horrible disease, survived brutal accidents, lost a spouse or child, or even left a war-torn country. I looked up everybody and ended up quite mystified. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what the take away was for the audience. Sadly, I had no idea how their tale from tragedy to triumph would help the audience.
Every business owner wants to make a difference
That difference is all about the impact we want to make on the world. Every successful business starts with the impact or transformation they want to have, suggests about their proprietary system and glosses over lightly all the crap that got them to that place.
I believe every single human being gets tested at some or many points in their life with stuff that can best be described as shit. Every single human being. So the fact that we all have suffered in some way binds us together. What makes us unique is when we can take the gifts we learn from the suffering and share THAT with others who suffer too. We ease the suffering of others from the lessons we learned ourselves.
That was what initially drew me to the first lady I chose. I have no idea what horrible stuff she has endured. I sensed she was one powerful woman who took all the lessons that strengthened her and shared those lessons with others. In an easy to use format.
As a matter of fact, I was horrified reading all the tragedy to triumph stuff. So many good people have been put through the wringer. My heart bleeds for every single one of them, and I count my own blessings. Because there but for the grace of God, go all of us. However, I was not there to read their stories. I was searching for a solution to my problem.
We the customer again
When any of us are in the mood to find or buy a new product, we are looking for ‘something’ specific. Something that teaches us. Shortens our learning curve. Makes us a better person. Changes our thinking for the better. Brings peace of mind. Quiets our life. It keeps us relevant and competitive. Energizes us. Shows us a better, faster or simpler path. Highlights a truth we never thought of. Saves us time or resources. THAT is what we are looking for first.
Honestly, nobody is interested in the how part of either your journey or your process. What we really want to know is why you are so awesome because of that journey. Show us we can get the same results with your system, framework, schematic, or some kind of takeaway. THAT is how you hook us in.
At this point, you want to know who I ended up with. The lady I wanted! I sent her a note through social media and said, hey, I sent you an email yesterday, and now I have four people recommending you. Do you have time to chat?
Funny thing. Apparently, that email I sent on Monday at 6:30 am and the social media note I sent Tuesday afternoon collided about the same time into her mailbox. She was as horrified as me. She, too, has the same old-fashioned streak running through her DNA.
Keep the Lights On
This forum is going to be way better than we initially thought. We have a dynamite speaker to start it all off, at least 60 minutes of brainstorming new ideas for all attendees and then a commonsense takeaway for prioritizing those ideas. Plus, we have an Ask the Expert resource available after it is finished and, as you would expect — a few other things up our sleeves. Interested? Check it out here.