How to Think More Like Your Customer & Build Better Relationships

In the past, brands largely controlled their own narrative. They told consumers what to think of them and, more often than not, consumers listened. The luxurious ability to paint a rosy picture of your brand feels akin to ‘catfishing, a cultural phenomenon born of the modern pervasiveness of internet communication and courtship, wherein a person online pretends to be someone they’re not. For so long, companies had the upper hand, using clever marketing tricks to reel in customers and—at the risk of being hyperbolic—shaping society to serve their interests. 
My, how things have changed. Now, we have both feet planted firmly in the age of the consumer. We want—we need—to know who our customers are, what they want, and exactly how they want it. Why? Because they shape us now. 
Whether your organization is B2B or B2C, the goal is the same: give people a personalized and painless experience that they will be happy to have again. This is how you will keep them. Still, this is easier said than done. Revenue operations, of course, it a large part of it—but what about the less tactical pieces of the puzzle? Once you have data in your hands, how can you apply your own emotional intelligence to create an experience for your customers that will keep them around? 
Friends, it’s time to talk about situational fluency, EQ, and the importance of being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. 
We take it you have, in your travels, heard the phrase “read the room”. We also take it that you understand what this means, but just in case: Reading the room means being able to tailor your behavior to the people around you, whomever they may be. Being able to do this successfully will ensure everyone in that room—whether it be literal or figurative—will feel comfortable and be generally receptive to your message. 
This is important in social life, but also when it comes to Marketing and Sales. With the rise of conversational marketing tools like Drift, knowing your audience and judging how they want to be spoken to is a huge deal. For example, trying to be edgy and going way too far—that’s awkward for everyone. Stay true to your brand voice, but make adjustments based on who you’re interacting with—this is the key to being authentic and relatable. 
Imagine that you are on the receiving end of whatever messaging you’re creating and think about how you would react to it; not just the content, but tone and word choice, too. This may seem like an obvious call out, but you’d be surprised how many people fail to take this step. There is a reason that ‘mirroring’ is considered an excellent tool for relationship-building; it signals that you’re paying attention and makes people feel as though they’re interacting with someone who’s somewhat like them. 
Part and parcel of a good customer experience is also knowing where the line is between personalization and, well, creepiness. With everyone in the industry constantly talking about the importance of personalizing both content and lifecycle, it can be easy to get caught up in trying to prove how much effort you’ve put into knowing someone. Digging through social media profiles in an attempt to uncover a detail that can be turned into Marketing or Sales messaging has become fairly common, but wow could it backfire if those details are not wielded with caution. 
People are already all sorts of freaked out by the implications of increasingly advanced AI, so how do you think they’ll feel when someone they’ve never met calls out something personal about them in a cold email? Instead, utilize what we have just now decided to call “safe information”, such as an article they’ve written, a podcast they’ve been on, etc. This way, you are paying them a compliment for something they likely intended for people to see and not, say, a personal photo of them at a concert two months ago. 
More elusive still is the ability to make people feel at ease when you’re selling to them in person or over the phone. With email, body language and intonation are lost, and words can be carefully chosen. In a voice to voice conversation, not so much. Thus, a good strategy is to employ active listening techniques in order to learn as much as possible. After all, rarely is a sales cycle as short as one conversation; if you walk away with information you can use to further personalize that contact’s experience down the line, we’d say that’s a win. 
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