Ten Observations About Customers

Here are ten observations that I have had about the human nature of people as customers:

1. People know what they don’t want – People know exactly what they want but often times have trouble expressing it.

Key – Using the following phrase helps get people to tell you what they want: “I know you may not know now, but if you did know, what would it be?” This gets people to open up and begin talking about their interests and choices.

2. People don’t return – Most people who have a bad experience would rather leave quietly and avoid conflict.

Key – Be sensitive to your target’s needs and become their advocate. Ask open ended questions and listen closely to their answers. Never interrupt and always assure them that you value their business. Before offering the solution, ask them what they think may improve the situation. The answers can be very surprising.

3. People feel the deserve the best (entitlement) – In business settings , most people feel as though they are entitled to certain things and if you’re doing business with them, (in their mind) you owe them.

Key – Give the most real and honest treatment you can in response to the questions you get from your customers.

4. People do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure – Pain equals loss which is what people run from. Key – Focus on what the target has to lose by not getting involved. Have your argument and touch pints written down for easy articulation.

5. People don’t listen, they wait to talk – Even though they may not listen when you talk, you gain an advantage when you listen to them because you uncover their desires.

Key – Use questions to get access to the info you need. People love to hear themselves talk; they just have to know you really care. Start by asking about things you think they enjoy talking about or that they think are relevant to them getting what they want.

6. Most people are pessimists – Nothing great ever comes of this type of defeatist attitude.

Key – Challenge them immediately and stop the negativity as it can become viral very quickly. Flip the script by asking them how they think the problem can be solved. This will quiet them because they’ll be exposed as someone who has no substance; just negative thoughts with no reasoning to support it.

7. Perception is reality – Everyone sees the world differently but we all assume what we see is real and/or correct. This is where miscommunication comes from.

Key – True masters of influence are simply masters of seeing the world through the eyes of their targets. You do this by asking the right types of questions, listening and observing.

8. People prefer the path of least resistance – Most people will not act if it’s easier to stay put or if there are no perceived consequences.

Key – Show the customer how buying now will help them avoid higher costs later, save money or avoid a potentially painful consequence. If you ask too much of them or make your request seem difficult, people will avoid you.

9. Attitude shapes experience – Anyone (including you) can completely change their perception of a current experience because of their attitude.

Key – You can improve your target’s attitude by asking a question that breaks his/her state and changes their view of the current experience to a more positive one.

10. Complainers like to complain – Seems pretty simple but your job as an influencer is to remember where your target is coming from. The complainer (especially in business settings) cares more about the experience of complaining than anything else. Often times, the complaint doesn’t even need merit.

Key – Questioning the complainer makes them more defensive and just adds fuel to the fire. Only question them to gain more information so you can help them rather than doing so to learn their intentions.




  • Hakeem says:

    Thanks, Paul. You always give what I am looking for. Will study this for my organization.

  • merlita says:

    Thank you, Paul. I’ll use this in our brainstorming activities next week.

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