If you’re anything like me, you like to think you’re right…that you know what’s best…that if only people would listen to you they’d be so much better off. And of course that’s true 🙂
But what I’ve learned over the last few years is that businesses who tell their customers what they want, and how they want it, rather than listen to them, can very quickly lose even their most loyal following.
Negative capability, a phrase first coined by Keats no less, is I believe, the answer! Having the ability to ‘negate yourself’…to take yourself out of the equation…to stop focusing on what you think, feel, believe, and start focusing on, or in some cases, get back to, what your customer needs…will help you to grow your business.
Throughout history, big companies have lost their way by taking their eye off the ball, becoming arrogant, taking their customer for granted…success can do that to people. But for me it’s the small business owner who is most at risk because their passion for their programme, product, service…their big idea that led them to start-up in the first place, often doesn’t even involve the customer, until it comes to the selling bit.
‘Buy my lovely product! I made it just for you! I didn’t ask whether you needed it, or whether you wanted it to look like this/ work in this way…but I know you’ll love it…why wouldn’t you??’
Of course I’m not saying anything you don’t already know here. We all know that we should talk to our customers early on…find out what their problem is and how they want it fixed, and mould our product into a solution for them.
The difficult bit is getting ourselves out of the way…removing ourselves from the centre of everything we do…and putting the customer there.
Start with WHY?…absolutely! But then ask WHO FOR? …and focus all of your attention on them.
It’s really not about you!