Can You Really Know Your Audience Than They Know Themselves?
“Know your audience than they know themselves!”
You’ve probably heard this a lot of times. Even I say it a lot.
But to be realistic, is it really possible for you to know someone than they know themselves?
That’s one level.
Now, when we are talking about a group of people – an audience – is it possible to know the class of people in that group than they know themselves…especially when you’ll most likely never meet them in person or have any sort of relationship with them?
As complex as we are, as a specie, can you use general pointers from your research to qualify a group of people enough to know them “more than they know themselves”?
Do you see my point?
It really doesn’t sound realistic. It’s impossible in reality.
It would be hard to even say, after spending your entire life with someone, that you know them more than they know themselves. Not to talk of a group of strangers.
But you have to!
The unfortunate truth however is: you actually do need to know your audience more than they know themselves – and sometimes that could be a million people.
I know it’s impracticable in reality, but don’t worry, there are ways around it.
1. You’re only trying to know them in one aspect. You’re not trying to know every damn thing about their existence; you’re only trying to get deep information about them that is relevant to what you offer.
2. Commonality. Since it’s very narrowed, then you can indeed know them deeply. And guess what? What applies to one applies also to a large number of people when your research is narrowed to a particular problem or desire.
3. At the core of it, the deepest human desires are just a handful. People are however diverse, and so these core desires are expressed in a variety of ways; you only need to cover as many major “expressions” as you can…but all tied back to those handful desires.
4. We lie to ourselves, so bad that we subconsciously make this lie our reality and make the truth false. Therefore, it’s easy to break these false beliefs (which they actually might not be conscious of) and bring out their truth. Then they’d begin to wonder how you know them so much or how you can connect with them so deeply and on another level.
Some of these points are self-explanatory, but I’d like to focus on point #4 in this article.
We lie to ourselves
A quick Google search will reveal and confirm this to you in a myriad of psychological studies and researches.
Humans lie to themselves, and it’s normal.
My favorite concept in this area is called “cognitive dissonance”. It’s closely related to Robert Cialdini’s concept of “Consistency” as a weapon of influence.
Both theories basically posit that people would adjust their beliefs to remain consistent with a certain behavior. Or adjust their behavior to remain consistent with certain beliefs.
The cognitive dissonance theory states that we have the inner drive to harmonize our attitudes and beliefs. Aka, adopt a belief that justifies a behavior that would otherwise fall short of our values or existing/former beliefs.
We dissociate with that old belief. And it’s mostly subconscious.
Too deep? How about this:
Other than lying to ourselves, we generally don’t know ourselves as deeply as we think.
According to T. Harv Eker, there are some mental files that we developed and stored in the process of growing up, most of which were given to us by events we experienced and the people we related with.
So, we act or react to things, thinking it’s who we are and not knowing it was purely based on beliefs we simply borrowed or adopted growing up.
Let me simplify this a bit more.
Generally, we really don’t know ourselves as we think. We don’t know the real motivation behind the decisions and choices we make, and the actions we take.
A practical environment I’ve seen this proven is sales.
Any salesman worth their salt knows that there’s always a deep motivation behind people’s actions, desires, wants, problems, needs, etc. And you don’t just allow your prospect to throw you some bones just so they can get you off their hair; you have to dig beneath the surface to reveal the real goodies.
For example, someone who responds to your offer of getting them tons of leads might tell you that their real reason for wanting tons of leads is to make more sales, and in essence make more money. And that’s it; gives you no other reason than money.
But you must know that money is never the end in itself; it’s a means to an end.
So you keep digging, and you might find that this want of money is deeply rooted in the fear of being unable to afford a great quality of life for his kids…all because he grew up in poverty and resented his father for not working as hard as other daddies to afford the good life for him.
The last thing he’d ever want is his children to secretly resent him for not having enough money to provide beyond necessity!
The crazy part is that he might not even be aware of how much this singular desire drives him to work hard…until when you dig it out.
Easiest way to dig stuff like this out is by using a lot of “why’s”. Asking “why” at the end of every answer your prospect gives. Or just ask “so what”.
Let’s try this.
“I want to make more money.”
“I want to be able to afford the good life for t=my kids.”
“So that they can have what their mates are having.”
“So that they don’t resent me for not giving them a very good quality of life.”
“I didn’t have that, and I resented my dad a lot for it.”
That’s just an example of how to dig deep (you might not get these exact answers from your prospect).
Do you now see?
I could go on and on about what we tell ourselves, but I’m sure you get the point: we don’t really tell ourselves the real truth, whether consciously or unconsciously.
When researching your audience, you also want to go beyond the common pointers; you want to dig deep. Talk to as many of your prospect as possible, and use the “Why” question to dig deeper. You’d be shocked at the goodies you’d find.
For example, while researching botox for a client’s medspa, I realized that women weren’t just getting the injection to look younger, but instead, they’re trying to get back that familiar face they’ve known all their lives.
Saw that in a survey!
(Learnt that when a lot of women reach a certain age, they get sad when looking at the mirror, because their familiar face is beginning to disappear and they begin to look stern or even angry when they’re not.)
Can you see how deep that would hit a woman who couldn’t place what makes her sad whenever she looks in the mirror?
This is what I mean when I say you should know your audience more than they know themselves.
Until next time…
In the next few articles, I’ll deal with how to break those adopted and internalized false beliefs and lies that your prospects tell themselves, and then I’ll analyze point #3: the deepest human desires that are just a handful!
Want my template?
Audience Intelligence is the template I use to research my audience and gather the deep info they’d be shocked I have in my possession, yet it’s just one of the “pillars” available to my clients in the Septuplar Sales System Coaching Program.
Sure you can begin to imagine the magic you can perform when you get this system into your hands and install it in your business.
If you feel you need my help to not just identify the deepest desires and problems of your prospects, but also help you grow your business through consistently generating profitable sales, then reach out to me via DM and let’s discuss to see if you’re a good fit for my coaching program.
I work strictly with those that have an existing business (a product or service people are actually buying from them) and are only interested in making more profits and growing. If this is you, hit me up immediately.
Meet the Author
Hello! I’m Oludami Yomi-Alliyu. I'm on a mission to help driven entrepreneurs grow their business and attain freedom through consistent, profitable sales. This is why I created the Septuplar Sales System, out of my experience turning around my business failure and now consistently getting returns of over 5x my ad spend.Learn more