Monday, June 19, 2017

Businesses are not paid to reform customers...

I took the title of this post from Peter Drucker. It is an exact quote of his. "Businesses are not paid to reform customers."

I love that quote. It reminds me to forget about any efforts to ever "fix" my customers. I cannot say I have always known this lesson.

Let me give you an example. Howard Gardner is a professor of "Cognition and Education" at Harvard University. We might call him a psychology professor for short.

A while back, Gardner published a book titled Changing Minds. Of course, I immediately snatched up the book. And quickly devoured it.

As a novice entrepreneur, I thought I would need to know how to change minds. I have come to learn how foolish I was. Ooops!

Today, I know we need to satisfy our customers. Not change them. In a sense we are looking to preach to the choir. But, there is a twist.

As an entrepreneur, it is smart to begin with the choir. The churchgoers. The people who believe. In the common parlance, of Crossing the Chasm, these people are what is referred to as the "Innovators." They understand what you are doing. And they are ready to join.

Next, comes the believers who have stopped going to church. No conversion necessary. Only outreach. This would be what is known as the "Early Adopters."

What I learned is that true innovators do not try to convert the non-believers. They begin by creating a momentum within the community of believers.

Like I mentioned, I used to think I need to change people's minds, so they would see the wisdom of my invention. It was a mistake.

Do not get me wrong, as you cross the chasm, there will be an element of influence necessary. But, it will be aided by the momentum created amongst the believers.

To continue with the church theme, thank God for Drucker, who said, "Businesses are not paid to reform customers. They are paid to satisfy customers."

Stated differently, identify the problem you solve, and go find people who have that problem. But, do not waste your time trying to change people.

I will leave you with one more Drucker quote. "Communications aimed at conversion demand surrender." And, honestly, what are the chances you are going to get your customers to surrender?