At the heart of successful connection with the customer is the ability to see what they’re seeing and feel what it’s like to walk in their shoes.  Can’t relate?  Never going to really connect.  Love this quote from Big Ideas to Big Results:

Denial is the opium of losers.  Nothing guarantees fatal errors faster than seeing only what you want to see.  Winning is all about realism, accepting truth, and acting on it quickly and more effectively than your competitors.  Seeing things from the market or customer perspective, from the outside-in, that’s what matters (p. 33).

Part of the problem for many of us is that we dream of connecting with a customer that is different than the one we actually end up with.  Or we’ve got a mix.  We still talk about connecting with the customer we aspire to reach, sometimes we talk as if we’re already doing, but in reflective moments we acknowledge that it’s not happening.  We have customers…they’re just not who we hoped they’d be.

How honest are you about your connection with the customer you seek?  Is there room for a gut-check?  Are you able to really see things from your aspirational customer’s perspective?

Outside-In Vision
  • Outside in thinking is critical to creating products like the IPod.
    I believe all business owners want products that their market wants and is willing to pay for to solve their problems.
    Unfortunately close to 90% of companies think inside out. What are we good at followed by let’s make something then “Create a market for it.” When I meet these owners they are quick to tell me of their first success, the one that made the company they now own. Invariably when they made the first product they were thinking outside in.
    In our new book, Tuned In, we spend a much greater time explaining this with over 60 examples of companies that applied outside in thinking. The companies that build cultures around outside in realize; 2X growth of competitors, 50% less marketing spend, have 30% more gross profit, and 20% higher customer satisfaction.
    The book will be out June 27, 2008 and if your readers would like to learn more about it please go to .
    Keep up the good work.

  • Thanks Mark! Good insight into the issue. I’ll check out the book!