In his bestselling book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote:
“People are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves — morning, noon and after dinner.”
Decades later, this still remains a primal truth. And nowhere is it more evident than in business.
Each day, businesses and brands promote their products and services feverishly. And each day, customers push back. The proof is in the numbers. Research shows that Branded content is up 300%. But only 5% of the content receives 90% engagement. The remaining 95% receive single-digit likes and views.
Companies get frustrated because customers “don’t understand what [they’re] doing.” Customers get frustrated because brands don’t answer their most pressing question: “What’s in it for me?”
Of course, customers don’t ask this openly. Instead, they ask 3 questions frequently, hoping to get an answer to the big one.
It doesn’t matter whether your customers are businesses or consumers. These questions remain consistent across the board because people are people. They care about the same thing — “What’s in it for me?”
Q1. What do you do?
Yes, your customer wants to know what you offer.
But she doesn’t want boring details about your product’s features, advantages, and price. What she truly cares about is what your product does for her.
If you sell software, how does it make her business more efficient?
If you sell video games, how do they entertain her?
If you sell an alarm clock, how will it get her out of bed to start her day?
Your customer is silently visualizing where your offering fits in her life, or whether it fits at all. She wants you to paint a picture of how your product can make her life better, of how it will turn her into the hero of her story.
Doing this for your customers won’t just help you close faster. It’ll also help you identify your real USP which you can use to differentiate yourself from other me-too products.
Q2. Who are your customers?
In all my years as a consultant, almost every prospect has asked me two questions during the first meeting:
- Who are your customers?
- Have you worked in our industry before?
When they hear the names of brands I work with, they feel reassured. Not because they think I’m important, but because they feel they’re in safe hands.
Most people lie in the early- and late-majority stages in the adoption cycle. They feel safe as part of the herd and are skeptical about trying new things. But once they get comfortable with a product or service, they use it over and over again.
The most comforting way for customers to know they’re making the right decision is if someone as smart as them (or smarter) has made the same decision. This is why they ask companies about their customers.
This might sound harsh, but your customer doesn’t care about your growth plan, the funding you’ve raised, or how important you are. She cares about whether she’s making the right choice and how important you make her feel, regardless of whether she spends $1 or $1,000.
“People are not interested in you. They are interested in themselves — morning, noon and after dinner.”
Q3. Why should I buy from you?
This is not a trick question, though it might sound like one.
When your customer asks this question, she doesn’t want to know your USP or how your product will revolutionize a billion-dollar market. She wants to know just one thing: Why should she trust you?
Trust is the single most influential factor in a buyer/seller relationship. It gets built when your customer feels assured that you’ve understood her latent emotions.
Do emotions have any place in business? Definitely.
We don’t appreciate our emotions getting sidelined. We want them to take center stage. We want to feel heard and be understood.
When emotions come into play — and they always do — aspects like features, benefits, and price take a backseat.
The ideal answer to “why should I buy from you?” is one that shows how your USP addresses your prospects’ underlying needs.
When you make your customer feel important, witchcraft happens. She invests her emotions in your business. She cares about your company beyond just the product. She proudly associates with your growth and stands by you during a crisis.
In other words, your customer turns into your most powerful salesperson.
To get there, she first needs reassurance that you prioritize what she cares about. Make everything you say and do about your customers. You’ll get rewarded with a lifetime of loyalty.