I have a pretty large ego. This comes into play a lot of times. And most of the times when I let it takeover I end up with a mess on my hands.
Especially when we have been in a role for some time we create a tool box for solving problems…and we end up molding the problem into what can be solved by the tools in the tool box.
So when things are not going the way they should be, in the market , we end up taking action using our tools which have proven worthy earlier. We assume we know the problem and like earlier can be solved the same way.
However markets are different…..they are dynamic in nature…the customers, your competitors and the environment are all changing, all the time. As a marketing or product management person you cannot let time pass while you keep grappling with the tools in your tool box.
This does not mean that having a tool box of proven techniques is bad. It is just that we should be quick to figure out if things are not working.
Sometimes its better to find out what’s wrong then to be proven wrong by the market. That happens when you start asking.
Till next time then…just ask.
This topic has, I think been one of the longest, I have pondered on.
Yesterday I wrote about why it was critical for the marketing / product management / sales folks to be asking questions and how it impacts the ability to succeed in the market.
So why don’t most of the sales / marketing / product management folks do it. One of course is vanity / ego….we know all the reasons why someone does not buy, after all we have been doing this for “xxx” years. The other bigger one is fear because most of us are not prepared to listen to the truth, we don’t know how the prospect will react, we may realise we are the actual cause of the problem.
We would rather end up being busy sending emails, doing “busy” work, attend a lot of internal meetings, rather than go out into the market. These are things we know to do so we do them rather than go and check out the unknown.
Ozan Varol in his book – Think Like a Rocket Scientist has a very nice story – and I paraphrasing it here to get the point out – of your boss asking you to get a monkey to stand on a pedestal and recite from Shakespeare. You break down the problem into different stages – building a pedestal, identifying a monkey and making it learn Shakespeare. What would you do first here.
Most people would first think of building the pedestal first – why because that’s the easiest to do and you will be able to show progress to your boss. If you were to first go to identify a monkey which can speak English, you will never be able to show progress to your boss.
Similarly its easier to show that you have done some activity by telling your boss that you sent a mail, than it is to get to identifying why some one is not buying your product.
This is one of the biggest frustrations I face in trying to get my teams to figure out why people are not buying something from us. If you can master this art of just asking – you can’t imagine what all you will learn.
Till next time then.
Today we will come down to the exact reason, why this idea is critical for anyone in marketing, product management or sales. This quality is absolutely critical to know and understand why someone is not buying from you, or why someone is not referring customers to you etc.
Marketing and product management teams have to ensure that their product / service sells in the market. That there’s a demand for their product or service on a continuous basis.
If the product is not moving then it becomes imperative to check out the prospects on why they aren’t buying from you. Is the category itself not moving or only your product within the category.
A lot of time guys in the field assume it’s price. That’s the first statement you will always hear if your product is not moving with respect to the competition in the same category. It’s very rare that people get out, in the field to ask questions to the prospects.
Like I mentioned in the first two posts , most of the times, it is our ego and our fear , which stops us from asking the questions. Asking the right questions in the market is key to getting your marketing right. If inspite of all the systematic planning you do, with identifying the single target market and identifying the differentiators and also educating your prospects, then its critical that you get down into the market and systematically ask a large cross section of the market, on what is the hinderance in wanting to buy your product.
A lot of times its just the perception, that is causing people to resist what you have to sell. Sometimes its lack of knowledge. But you will not be able to address these things if you don’t ask. Curiosity is not always a bad thing. And curiosity to know why the product that you are selling is not moving is absolutely essential for your business.
Till next time then.
In my last post on this topic I shared two real life incidents of how by just asking – they were able to get things. Both the people kept their egos and fear aside and checked and they were able to get things that they wanted.
Today we will look at why most people – including me , many times – end up with the mice rather than the antelopes.
The story goes that a lion is very much capable of capturing mice and eating them. But it does not hunt mice. It hunts antelopes. Mice are to be found all over the place, but antelopes are few and have to be searched. The lions also have to chase the antelopes to capture one of them, because antelopes can run very fast. But the lion still prefers to hunt the antelopes because the calorific value the lion gets by eating a mouse is not worth the effort. But when it hunts an antelope, it can keep the lion satiated for multiple days, so it’s worth the effort. A lot of times because we see the low hanging fruit we chase that, rather than chasing the worthwhile fruit.
Most of us have extremely big egos and / or a lot of fear. That stops us from asking questions. Given a chance most of us would be scared of even opening our mouth in front of a stranger. We would rather accept what is available without asking the question.
So a lot of times what “antelope” could have been yours, just disappears, because you didn’t ask the route to get the antelopes and stuck yourself in finding the “mice” because they were easier to find. Its all in our brain.
Our brain takes its primary role as survival and fears , asking a question may endanger you or your ego (people may laugh at you because you asked a stupid question or people may shout at you). In school I remember I was taught “curiosity killed a cat”. For a long time and quite a few times even now, this comes up at the back of my mind and stops me from asking questions.
But quite often its worth the try.
Till next time then……just ask…..curiosity doesn’t kill cats.