E-Myth MASTERY: The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company – Michael E. Gerber
Today, I bring you an excerpt from the book: E-Myth MASTERY: The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company by Michael E. Gerber.
If you have read the authorâ€™s previous book: E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, which was a best seller, you would expect nothing less than a thorough and trusted guide that you can use to build your business to world class.
And he surely delivered!
Here is an excerpt from the book on the topic: Customer Perceptions and Behavior: Understanding How Your Customers Think and Make Decisions
After reading this part, you will understand what it takes to get prospective customers order your product the first time, and get existing customers keep coming back whenever they need what you are offering without hesitating.
These are the same strategies that the big and successful companies use to make millions and even billions of dollars in sales every year. Now, you too can bid poor sales good bye forever.
If you enjoy this piece, then you can be sure that the entire book is great, and thatâ€™s why I recommend it.
Please read onâ€¦
Customer Perceptions and Behavior: Understanding How Your Customers Think and Make Decisions
The human mind is anything but simple.
But the mind is where marketing happens for you and your customers. in order to do an effective job marketing your products and your company, you have to get an insightful understanding of the minds of your customers. T good news is that it’s fascinating, and you’ll enjoy the discoveries and insights you develop about your customers and yourself.
Where do you start?
You start by understanding the basics about how your customers’ min work, and how you can influence them for their benefit and yours. First, you develop the Central Psychographic Model, the CPM, for your primary target market and important flanker markets. Then you’ll look at purchase decision making and something we call the Purchase Decision Chain, which will lead you to an understanding of customer needs and behavior and how best communicate with customers.
The work you do in this business development process requires a great deal of in-depth thinking about some ideas that may be unfamiliar, possibly challenging, probably fun, and certainly valuable. You’ll develop insights about your customers and target markets that will shape everything your company does.
You’ll put those insights to use immediately in the next three business development processes. You’ll create your company’s “sensory package” (the total impact of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste that your customers experience of your business and its products and services). You’ll establish your “positioning” (the place you want your company to occupy in the minds of your customers). You’ll select your “marketing mix” (the specific communications, sales, delivery, and customer service activities you will use to attract and retain customers).
And finally, you’ll combine these elements to develop your marketing strategy. The knowledge and insights you gain in this work will be essential later when you create your lead generation and lead conversion processes. Don’t be in a hurry. Take the time you need to get to the core of your customers. It will pay off handsomely-for both you and them.
So let’s get to it.
Watch Out For The â€œFatal Assumptionsâ€
There are two “fatal assumptions” that can get in your way as you try to understand the minds of your target market customers-marketing to yourself and being too product-oriented. Marketing to yourself means thinking your customers think and act as you think and act. If you have ever said, “The way I would do it is … ,” or “What I would want is … ,” or “The way they should think is … ;’ then you have been guilty of marketing to yourself.
Being too product-oriented means thinking more about your products and their specifications, and less about what your customers need and how to communicate with them. It’s thinking backward. The idea that “I’ll create a product and then go out and sell it” is the product -oriented approach, and it’s a poor one.
The idea that ‘Iâ€™ll learn what the market needs, then I’ll create the product to satisfy that need” is the customer-oriented approach, and it’s the more effective approach. Product -oriented thinking also means focusing your marketing and sales activities on the features of your product or service, rather than on the emotional gratification it provides your customers.
Perception is Reality
In marketing, there is no such thing as reality; only perceived reality. What the customer, or anyone else for that matter, perceives is what is real for that person. What the customer’s mind perceives, accurately or inaccurately, is the truth in the eye of that customer. What the customer’s mind doesn’t perceive, in effect, doesn’t exist. And perception rules all decision making, including of course, purchasing decisions. So much so that you could define marketing as “the art of managing customer perceptions.”
The key to successful marketing is to provide the gratification the customer seeks. If this happens, it is a “win-win” situation. There is a different approach to marketing that should be discouraged because it benefits neither the customer nor the business serving the customer. It’s the view that one should manipulate customer perceptions in order to make a sale, using any method that works, without regard to the customer’s welfare.
Ethical questions aside, it’s a counterproductive approach to business. Customers always come to realize what is happening and turn away from the selfishly manipulative marketer. In the end, ethical marketing is practical marketing. If customers’ perceived needs and preferences are served, the business wins. If not, it loses.
A Tale of Two Minds
Imagine for a moment that you have a pair of tiny twins living inside your head. Their names are “Impulse” and “Reason.” They do all your thinking for you, all your feeling, all your perceiving. They are your mind, but there are two of them-and they couldn’t be more different from each other.
Impulse speaks no language, understands no words, has no ability to reason. She has no sense of right or wrong. She wants gratification; she avoids pain. She feels desire and fear. She is the ultimate amoral pleasure seeker as well as the ultimate avoider of anything unpleasant. She can be embarrassed, she has a sense of pride and shame, and when she’s done something wrong, she is remorseful. She is always completely honest, straightforward-there’s no deception in her. She is pure passion, emotion, and impulsive instinct. And she wants everything now.
Reason reads, writes, and does arithmetic. She is logical and rational. She eeks facts, information, knowledge, understanding. She is not passionless, but her passions are rational and follow her reasoning. She makes unemotional judgments about good and bad, right and wrong, ethical and unethical, moral and immoral, should do and shouldn’t do, can do and can’t do, valuable and valueless. But she can’t be embarrassed because she has no sense of shame, and he is never remorseful. She thinks, she reasons, she judges, but she doesn’t feel.
They’re an interesting pair, these little twins, but the most interesting thing i that Impulse is the decision maker of the two. Believe it or not, every decision you make is made by Impulse. That’s right, the little crazy person is making all your decisions. Unsettling isn’t it?
Well, it’s not really all that unsettling because Reason has a lot to say about it The two of them work together in a very productive way. They both perceive through the senses-sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Reason takes whatever meaning is inherent in what it perceives and logically processes it, adding no emotion, drawing conclusions.
The result is passed along to Impulse who interprets the result in terms of expected gratification or pain, and reacts emotionally. Impulse provides the emotional response to Reason’s rational conclusions and judgments. Meanwhile, Impulse is also using her sensory perceptions to make associations with past experience and bring forth the emotions they trigger.
So Reason deals in information and judgment while Impulse deals in associations and emotions. The more information Reason can bring to her judgments, the stronger her influence on a decision. The more associations and impressions Impulse can make, the stronger her influence.
The Conscious Mind And The Unconscious Mind
The little twins are real. Of course they’re not creatures inhabiting your skull; they are the two aspects of your mind. Reason is your conscious mind and Impulse is your unconscious mind. They exist in all of us. They are the key to the way we think, perceive, and make decisions. And they are the key to understanding and communicating with your customers and prospective customers.
If your marketing is to be successful, you have to communicate with both of them. And that’s where most businesses fall short. They communicate mostly with Reason, and she’s not the decision maker.
Associations are as important as they are mysterious and unpredictable. Your mind-anybody’s mind-makes associations that rule your behavior and the way you perceive the world. Impulse is the twin responsible for associations. Associations can be triggered by the most trivial perceptions as well as by major events.
For example, a middle-aged man doing yard work hears the rustle of fallen leaves. He perceives the sound and unconsciously associates it with the rustle of papers at an award ceremony at which he was the guest of honor. He doesn’t consciously remember the award ceremony, but he smiles and momentarily feels good because the association triggered pleasant emotions.
Here’s another, more dramatic example. A young woman-an ice-cream lover-is walking home one evening eating an ice-cream cone. Suddenly she is attacked by a couple of dogs. To this day, more than 15 years later, she can’t bring herself to eat ice cream. Her unconscious mind has created an indelible association between ice cream and brutality, pain, and fear. It’s an extreme example to be sure, but it makes the point.
Marketers seek to create associations favorable to their products or take advantage of existing ones. Think, for instance, of the last time you saw a television commercial for perfume or beer or an automobile. Yes, the advertisement presented information, but the real thrust of the ad was to trigger an association in your unconscious mind linking the product with a pleasant experience or impression.
You never know exactly what associations your advertising, your product, or your sensory package are going to trigger with any specific individual people’s experiences and perceptions are much too varied. But you can tap into the common experiences and perceptions of groups of similar people and be confident that the associations will be pleasant or unpleasant for most of them.
And that’s what you do in your business communications and advertising. You understand your target markets in as much depth as you can, but at least to the extent that you know their major common experiences and the way they generally go about their lives.
That tells you the kinds of things most likely to have positive associations. And that gives you insights into the kinds of messages and images your advertising should carry, the way you should interact with customers, and the kind of sensory experience your customers should have when they do business with your company.
The idea, of course, is that if you have an in-depth understanding of your customers and how they make their purchasing decisions, you can influence their decisions for your mutual benefit. So let’s take all this background information and put it into a framework that will help you understand customer decision making and enable you to establish the psychological profile-the Central Psychographic Model (CPM)-for each of your target markets.
Attraction And Avoidance The Essence Of Purchase Decisions
A purchase decision, or any decision for that matter, is simply the emotional response to all the rational and not-so-rational activities in the conscious and unconscious mind. Yes, decisions are made emotionally by the unconscious mind, but with full attention to both conscious and unconscious perceptions, associations, logic, and judgments.
It’s all a matter of attraction and avoidance. The conscious mind is drawn to purchases that make sense, are rational, and have objectively desirable results. It is repelled by purchases that are irrational and have objectively undesirable results. The unconscious mind is drawn to purchases that result in emotional gratification. It is attracted by pleasant associations, pleasant sensory perceptions, and the promise of good results based on the conscious mind’s conclusions and judgments. It avoids anything unpleasant.
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This is a great book by all standard, and I very much gladly recommend it to you.
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