The Curse of Knowledge

3 keys to know if you’ve got it and 4 tips on what to do about it!

1. Do you assume your customers know the jargon or abbreviations used in your business?

Now imagine you go to see your doctor and she asks you about your Corpus Collosum or your anterior WHATEVER. Would you have a clue what she was talking about? You might well be doing the equivalent to your customer if you speak a different language to them and don’t explain what you’re on about.

2. Do you think your customers understand every little step involved in providing your product or service?

If you’ve ever done any DIY you know how critical the preparation is to getting a really good finish, whether it’s painting or hanging wallpaper or sanding a door. Miss some steps out means you’ll get a pretty poor finish, so when you get a professional to do it for you and they do a really poor job you’ve assumed they’ll go through the same steps as you (which might not be the case). If you’ve never done DIY you won’t know any of this, but if you make assumptions about what your customer knows (or doesn’t) and about what your competitors do (or don’t) you’re missing a real point of differentiation.

3. Do you talk about the features of what you do when your customers want to know the benefits?

Customers don’t generally care about the things we care about in our business. Take website design for example. If that’s what you do you care about the aesthetics – how it looks, the colours used and the layout. But the customer cares that it’s on page 1 of Google, it drives more sales, and it makes their life easier. What the customer wants and what the designer wants may not cross over and can lead to all sorts of problems.

If you answered yes to even one of the above then you have The Curse of Knowledge. We are all so comfortable about our own area of expertise we don’t always see that we’re making it difficult for our customers to buy from us. If they don’t understand the process that’s involved or what you do that’s different from your competition then their fallback position is to choose the cheapest option.

So what can you do about it?

Tip no 1 – get a potential customer to have a look at what you’re doing. Not as hard as it might sound – we do this for a lot of clients. We ask them to tell us what they will do and then we highlight what seems to be missing – it’s so much easier to see what really is missing when you’re not involved in the business.

Tip no 2 – think about it from your customer’s point of view. How easy is it for them to understand what you sell? What is the process they go through from the very beginning of their contact with your business to them deciding to buy from you? What can be improved upon to make is so much easier for them? Do you remind them to buy from you again or ask if they would like to put another appointment in?

Tip no 3 – Find out what frustrates your customer about buying from your type of business. Once you know this make sure your marketing, website, meetings, all point out what you do to take this frustration away. Most of your competitors won’t be doing this.

Tip no 4 – Find out the real benefits your customer wants from using you. The easiest way of doing this is to start with a feature and ask the question ‘which means that…?’ Keep asking this until you come up with a feeling or emotion that expresses the true benefit of what you do.

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