He looked deep into my eyes and whispered in his soft Greek accent:
‘What are you afraid of? Freedom?’
‘No, drowning,’ I replied.
As a mediocre swimmer and a former asthmatic, diving has unsurprisingly never been my bag.
But like so many divers, this divemaster just couldn’t understand my reluctance. Why on earth wouldn’t I want to experience the thrill of the big blue?
Eventually giving up on me, he turned to my diver husband and sniffed: ‘If my wife no dive, I divorce her’.
But it’s normal, isn’t it, to assume that others will want the same things as us.
‘OMG you’ve just got to see the latest Game of Thrones series, it’s SO good.’
‘You’ve got to try that new deli round the corner, you’ll LOVE it.’
‘You must come to my Battle of Hastings reenactment weekend. It’ll be wild!’
I see lots of people in business making assumptions like this. And it causes them a lot of problems.
They spend hours on Instagram because they think it’s cool and fun and all their clients do too (whilst all their clients are in fact hanging out on LinkedIn).
They present 50-slide decks stuffed full of technical data, assuming that it’s as interesting to their prospects as it is to them (it’s not).
Or they hold a client event at a racetrack when they’re the only one interested in horses (no-one shows).
The single biggest advantage we can give ourselves in our marketing and communication is to put ourselves in our audience’s shoes.
To constantly think about them, not us.
So, how do we make that a habit? Well, we need to keep asking questions. Questions like:
- What are my clients interested in? Where do they hang out?
- How much does my audience know about my subject already? What do they want to know more about? What should I leave out?
- What turns my clients off? What gets their juices flowing?
And if you don’t know the answers you need to get out there and start having some deeper conversations with your clients.
So don’t always assume you and your clients are peas in a pod and get to know their unique needs. Otherwise they might just divorce you…