When you start a business, you have rose-coloured glasses which make you think that the whole world is going to love your product. You are sure that everyone will take an interest. In truth, most people don’t care about you. They have no interest in what you have put your heart and soul into.
You don’t need most people to buy from you. You only need the people who will benefit from your offering to buy from you.
There are only two groups of people who are going to take an interest in buying from you:
- The people who care about you as a person.
- The people who care about themselves only.
These two groups are going to be two separate groups.
People Who Care About You
The “people who care about you” group is going to be the smaller group of customers. These people are your customers because they want to see you succeed. These are people like your mom, your friends, and (sometimes reluctantly as a customer) your spouse. They don’t care about what you are selling, they care deeply about you, and are willing to buy something from you because this deepens your relationship.
Getting people to care about you as a person is possible, but it likely isn’t a long-term road to success. Small hardware and general stores can last for a long time in a small town because people have a good relationship with the store owner. Because they care about the owner, they will continue to shop at the small store with higher prices and less selection. They are customers because they care.
In our connected world, you should be connecting with people and making sure that they know how much you care about them. Let them know how much you are willing to help. Your openness to help will make them care about you a little bit, and that will go a long way. But never forget that the market is mostly made up of:
The People Who Care About Themselves
This is the group of people who, like you and I, are looking out for their best interest. This group is solving their problems, and focusing on a smooth life for themselves. “People who care about themselves” aren’t necessarily selfish. The CEO of an agency that helps homeless and marginalized people is going to put her best interest at the centre. And her best interest is probably in the best interest of a large group of people who couldn’t help themselves. But this CEO isn’t looking out for you. And she shouldn’t have to.
Your job as a business owner is to empathize with the people who care about themselves. You need to give these people whatever they need to solve their problem. And then you need to be willing to be forgotten.
Most people won’t come to you, because they don’t need you. Drive down a main street on a busy Saturday evening. Look at the restaurants, especially the busy ones. Recognize that even though there are people there, most people are somewhere else. The people who are eating there are meeting their own needs (they are hungry, they are on a date, they are celebrating something.)
Don’t expect to have everyone buy from you. A few people who care for you will buy from you. But mostly you want to serve the people who don’t care about you. Just because they don’t care about you, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about them. In fact, your job is to care so much that you can meet their needs without the need for being recognized getting in the way. The best experience for someone is, ‘I had a need, and then it was magically satisfied, and I hardly noticed how happened.’
I hope this post made sense. It seems pretty disjointed, but I think that it captures many points that I am passionate about, so I am going to let it remain disjointed. I hope that it helps someone who doesn’t care about me.