Voice Of The Market

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“It is wiser to find out than suppose.”

–  Mark Twain

So, why don’t we?  Why don’t we find out?  Why don’t we listen to the voice of the market?

“It’s all about the data,” said too many CEO’s, every day, for several years now.  We get so wrapped up in data, and the quest for more data.  There are so many data sources out there that we’re left supposing that they’re reliable.  We get so wrapped up in digging for data that we don’t grasp the most important learning available to us.  The voice of the market.

Look, we can prove whatever we want to if we’ll gather, sort, and selectively review enough data.  And in these times, any moron with a Twitter account can post their own data and claim their own “facts.”  Our social media-fueled world asks no responsibility to verify or prove — it encourages the unqualified and uninformed to make claims as if they were true.  Data does not equal information.  Data does not equal truth.

There’s a lyric in Jesus Christ Superstar in which Pontius Pilate asks Jesus, “We both have truths.  Are mine the same as yours?”  Unless we’re talking about matters of religious conviction, “truth” is a slippery slope, especially if we’re going to honor data over the voice of the market.  So, what is truth?  The voice of the market represents the truth, a.k.a. the perception of the people who buy our products and services.  Even if the data tells us something different about them — we’ll be better off if we honor their perception at least in equal weight to the data.  “Better off,” as in more sustainable, more profitable, more reliable, more real.

Dad always used to say, “Figures lie and liars figure.”  A mentor of mine, chairman of a Top 20 bank at the time, looked at me during a presentation by a member of my team and said, “Steve, I keep asking him for information, and all he’ll give me is data.”   Larry The Cable Guy, famed business advisor (huh?) said, “42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.”

How do we capture and honor the voice of the market?  We simply and repeatedly ask for it.

“Mrs. Customer, tell me why you bought our service instead of ABC Corp’s service?  You bought ABC’s other widget instead of ours, what drove that decision?”

“When you say we’re 18% higher on price, can you share with me the point of comparison?  If we were, say, 11% higher, have we built enough of a value bridge for you to cross that chasm?”

“You’ve been a loyal client for five years now, and I know that a lot of our competitors call on you all the time.  Thank you for that loyalty!  What is it that keeps you with us?  What’s the most valuable part of our solution for you?  What’s the least valuable part of our solution for you?”

“What other services should we offer?”

“If you were the sole owner of our company, what one thing would you change about the way we do business?”

We could do this for hours (and it might feel like we already have…) or we could do it for about two minutes in every interaction we have with our clients, and we’d be better off.  As in more sustainable, more profitable, more reliable and more real.

Pricing?  Listen to the voice of the market.  Features?  The voice of the market.  Buying process?  The voice of the market will tell you whether you’re easy to do business with.  And, if you’re not, you won’t need too much data, because the voice of the market will tell you how to fix it.

If only we’ll listen.

 

Tomorrow:  Value Bridges.

#voiceofthemarket #leadership #differencemaking #dailydifference

 


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