Finding Courage to Live a Life of Joy

Don’t Let Assumption Make an Ass of You (Like I Did)

Posted by on Jul 28, 2011 | 51 comments

Don’t Let Assumption Make an Ass of You (Like I Did)

You Are the Best Thing About This Blog!

You…that’s right, you.

When I sit at my desk or on my patio (as I am right now) and write, I imagine that you are sitting across from me in the other chair sipping a lemonade (cuz it’s warm out today. Shhh…I won’t tell anyone it’s spiked if you don’t!).

We’re chatting.  We joke, we laugh and we dream together. Two vagabonds on this road called “life”.  Like the best of friends.

 

Your Amazing Wisdom

The insight you provided on the recent post about my experience at the farmer’s market last weekend was fantastic and it got me thinking.

As you know…(See how I am pretending that you have nothing else to do with your day except read my blog; and so of course, you already read and commented <hint, hint> on that post? Right?)…the lesson I culled from that experience was to never assume your readers know what you want them to do or where you want them to go when they arrive at your website.  You have to show them!

Then I realized (thanks to Roy at Celebrations) that I had made a bad assumption when writing that post. And we all know what assuming does!

Assume=Ass+U+Me

That’s right. Assuming makes an ass of you and me! (but in this case, just me, I hope.)

I had assumed that your product or service had been perfectly researched and positioned with your audience.  Silly me!

Have You Made This Dangerous Assumption?

Have you assumed that your latest and greatest widget is exactly what the doctor ordered…for your customers?

The way in which we make an ass of ourselves (and we all do it…just check out my book) is that we assume that our readers or potential customers want our latest, greatest “whatever-it-is”.

With my book, I assumed that (unnamed, un-identified) people would be interested in my spiritual journey.

assumed that people would want to read about and learn from the insight I had gained on my journey.

I assumed that writing a book was the best way to share that journey.

I assumed people would flock to buy said book for it’s riveting prose and life-changing insights.

</sarcasm>

Now all of these things might be true.  Except #4…I’m pretty sure of that one since I’m not writing this post and sipping spiked lemonade with you from a private island!

The sad truth is that each of these assumptions have caused me not to be as successful in communicating my message (which I’m passionate about) as I could have been.

I don’t want that for you, so here is a useful lesson you can apply to your business immediately. I learned it recently from Ash Ambirge at the Middle Finger Project.

People don’t buy what they need, but they nearly always find a way to buy what they want.

This should be common sense, but it is not for a lot of “assumptive marketers” out there.  But you are not an assuming marketer anymore, you are an enlightened (now that you’ve read this post) marketer!

Find Their PITA, and You Won’t Be Their PITA!

Marketing to your community is easy and ethical when you know what your community wants. So ask them. Often.

Find out their greatest PITA (pain in the ass…just don’t be one), find a solution and offer it to them. Easy as that.

Now, more than ever we have the tools to connect with our community and get their feedback. Most of the time we are just too afraid of criticism, or worse, we are too self-involved to realize that we have become self-indulgent.

Constantly put into practice the polling of your community regarding their PITA, and you’ll never make an ass of yourself like I did by assuming that you know better than they do what they want.

As a step in practicing what I preach, I want to ask you to let me know what your biggest PITA’s right now are.

What are the biggest obstacles you face (in business or life)?

What would you like me to write a post about?

Use the contact form of this site to send me a message or post it up in the comments and I’ll do my best to add it to my list of blog post ideas.  Perhaps we can make suggested posts a regular feature.

Questions For Conversation:

Have you asked your community what their greatest PITA is?

Have you asked them recently? (It changes, just like yours does)

Have you brainstormed ways in which you can alleviate their PITA?

Have you created a product or service tailored to their needs which will alleviate or eliminate their PITA?

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

51 Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Lisa

    I’m giggling over the PITA bit.  We used that term growing up!  How fun! It’s so true.  With any biz thing, it’s good to think of how to solve problems.  People buy solutions, not products, etc.  This is a wonderful reminder.  I like how you engaged me as a reader in this post.  I’m a reader of your blog, but also, a biz owner, so this is helpful in both respects 🙂  Thank you.

    • Steve Rice

      Thanks for stopping by, Lisa. I loved Eleanor’s post on your blog. I hadn’t seen your blog much before that. I’ll have to stop by more often…even though we’re in kinda separate niches I love your attitude and personality.

      You’re SO right that people are buying a solution that we present. This is another principle that Ash (TMF Project) promotes. People buy a product because of how it makes them feel (more confident, competent, etc.) and that solves the issue that they’re struggling with.

      I’m really glad that my writing style connected. I’ve been working at learning to communicate more effectively and directly in my blog posts. So it’s great that the tips that I’m trying are working. Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

  2. Debbie Happy Maker

    What can I say Steve.  I am working on that product, will not at this moment.  As you can see i am commenting on your blog.  Now that I have said that I will get back to seeing if I can help there PITA!

    Keep smiling
    Debbie

    • Steve Rice

      I appreciate you commenting, Debbie! LOL. Now, back to that product! *cracks a whip*

      Just kidding. How did you determine the market for your product? What type of product are you creating? How did you find out it was needed by your community. Did you poll them? Did you go through comments?

      Just curious as I go forward. Want to find ways of gathering information that are effective.

  3. Earl Harville

    I have to say that I have not polled my audience yet, thinking that I know what they need. This article has given me a needed kick in the pants, in the arse area. 🙂  Thanks, Steve!!

  4. Earl Harville

    I have to say that I have not polled my audience yet, thinking that I know what they need. This article has given me a needed kick in the pants, in the arse area. 🙂  Thanks, Steve!!

  5. Justin

    Hey Steve,
    I often get contacted via my blog or FaceBook by my readers who have a pressing need. I then end up answering their question for them the best that I can and I also write a blog post to compliment my original response.

    If that isn’t enough I let them know that they can set up a coaching session with me so that I can really get to the nuts and bolts of their problem.

  6. Justin

    Hey Steve,
    I often get contacted via my blog or FaceBook by my readers who have a pressing need. I then end up answering their question for them the best that I can and I also write a blog post to compliment my original response.

    If that isn’t enough I let them know that they can set up a coaching session with me so that I can really get to the nuts and bolts of their problem.

  7. Wendy Webb

    The PITA thing is a cute idea.

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