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Reframing How You Think About Customers

How many business books have you read where you are urged to think about how to capture the attention of your ‘prospects’? Quite a few I reckon, I’ve read them too, and something about the use of that word in particular always makes me squirm. A ‘prospect’ by definition is either a potential source of profit or a likely customer. Nothing wrong with that you might say. We’re all in business to make a profit —no profit, no business. But viewing your potential customers as walking wallets is another thing entirely.

If you’re thinking about the people who you hope will buy from you simply as prospects, customers, clients, consumers, patrons, corporations or entities, you’re not only missing the point of doing business, you’re also blinkering yourself to a huge opportunity.

The products and services you want to sell will not succeed in the market if you don’t address the emotional wants of ‘real people’.
It’s not enough just to fulfil the material needs of prospects.

Business, (your business), needs to see past the labels it gives the people it serves, to their hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations.

Seeing beyond the ‘prospect’ label has enabled Pebble Technology to tell people the story of how their product will fit into their lives. They’ve raised $7 million and counting in a few weeks on Kickstarter in the process, not because ‘prospects’ needed a Pebble, but because ‘real people’ wanted one.

Customers can get good coffee on any street corner. Real people become regulars in places that take care of them.

Image by Kristen Mckee.

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