Even when I’m the one asking the questions, I ignore at least half of what my wife says. Yet she’s one of my most valuable research tools.
Let me tell you about her, and see if you have someone in your life who can be as valuable.
Let me start by saying that I lucked out with my wife, she’s the kind of force of nature that someone like me needs. Where I over-analyse everything, she doesn’t analyse anything. She works in gut feel where I need facts and numbers.
She makes decisions fast, and if you can get her attention, she’s the easiest person in the world to sell to.
But here’s the challenge.
If you’re selling, she’ll put zero effort into understanding what your offering. That’s your job, not hers.
So, I’m forever floating ideas past her and asking if she knows anyone who needs it.
But here’s the thing, I’m only interested in half her answer.
I’m only interested in if she “gets” the idea. Her opinion on whether the idea is valuable or not is rarely what I’m after.
Most of my clients are selling books, courses and software. My wife doesn’t buy any of those on a regular basis.
So why do I bother asking her about them at all?
Well, there’s two parts to good feedback.1) How quickly do they “get it”?2) How valuable do they think the idea is?
If you can ask someone who isn’t even in the target market about an idea, and they understand it right away, you know you've simplified the idea far enough.
That means that even for cold traffic, bored browsers skimming their Facebook feeds, you can get an idea across quickly enough to give them pause.
Fail to do that and you’ll only ever be able to sell to captive audiences.
Have you ever met someone at a networking event, spent 10 minutes discussing the “what do you do?” question, and come out with no idea what they do, or who they can help?
That’s their problem. Not enough simplicity.
Now, your product might be complicated, but if you can’t sum up the benefit and your target market in a single sentence, you’re going to go over people’s heads. You'll miss sales and miss out on referrals. The next step is more dangerous territory.
Let’s imagine that the penny has dropped and your fellow networker gets 100% what you do and who you do it for but they don’t see the value in it. What now?
Well, this is where you need to know a lot more about who you’re talking to. The late, great, copywriter, Gary Halbert once write:
“the three primary reasons people do NOT buy whatever it is you are selling: 1) They do not want what you are selling. 2) They cannot afford what you are selling. 3) They do not believe you are telling the truth about your product and they are very skeptical about you delivering on your promises.”
If you are talking to someone in group (1), it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re not going to sell to them, or even through them.
Your idea simply won’t stick.
This is why I only listen to half of my wife’s responses. She “gets” my offers, but she doesn’t consume her information that way, so I’ll never sell to her without changing formats.
Let’s take the next group. The ones who can’t afford your offer.
“Afford” is a subjective word and can mean one of two things.
One is that you straight up don’t have the money and can’t get your hands on it.
Imagine Richard Branson put up Nekker island for sale tomorrow. Even at the rock bottom price of £20million, I probably couldn’t scrape the cash together no matter how much I wanted it.
That's one sort of “can't afford”.
But another definition is that I have the money but chose to allocate it elsewhere.
For example, I’ve been shopping for a new snowboard jacket. Amongst the ones I’ve seen today is a lovely looking number from Moncler.
Now, right now, I have an amount of money I pull out of my company each month. I could take more but it would stunt the company's growth. Straight away you see what's happening.
I've got the money, but I'm choosing to spend it elsewhere. That's a different kind of “can't afford it.”
I need a new board too, so anything that I spend on the jacket has to come off what I spend on the board. Another priority.
So, who can we move someone form this sort of “can't afford it” to wanting our product?
Let's change my circumstances: – I'm stuck at the top of Mont Blanc. – I've left my jacket in the cable car. – Through some freak storm I can't get the cable car back down. – I have to ride down, in a freezing whiteout.
Maybe then if you offered me the jacket (and you took Amex), then I'd take it.
- Different people have different needs from the same product.
- Different people value the same product at different amounts.
- The same person can value a product differently depending on their circumstances.
So the danger about asking the wrong people about the value of your product is that for the most part you have no idea if they are desperate for it, on the fence, or have no interest whatsoever.
You have to watch and make that assessment yourself, and then see if you are communicating the value well enough.
Let's sum up what we need to get good feedback. 1. They have to “get” your offer.
2. They have to have money available for it.-
3. They have to value your offer enough to choose it over something else in their life.
Get your feedback from the wrong person and you'll kill a great idea.
The next time I write, I'm going to talk about how you find the right people, and it's not using Facebook ads.
Not yet anyway.