How to Connect with Your Self Centered Customer

Every decision we (and your customers) make is directly influenced by our self-centered nature.

We’re designed to look for the advantage, the benefit in every interaction. Which is why I’m continually surprised by marketers who completely forget this simple fact.

For example, when was the last time you received an email or LinkedIn request like this…

”Hello, I represent Humungous corp. We are the leading provider of high-speed AI solutions. Can I get 10-minutes of your time to tell you more?”

Unless you already know and love humungous corp…you’re not very likely to respond? And the reason is simple — they lead with what they want, not what you want or care about.

As a marketer, remember your customer isn’t patiently waiting for your email, letter or call. They’re thinking about how to pay the rent, find a date, get the promotion, get their proposal read, etc. They’re completely wrapped up in their own world — just like you and me.

So let me ask you a question. How well does your marketing and sales messaging stack up? Are you leading with what you want? Or are you focused on what’s important to your customers?

The trick is to put yourself in your customer’s world. Then relate the benefits of your product or service to your customer’s wants, desires, fears and aspirations.

When you do, you’ll notice immediate, and sometimes dramatic increases in response and conversion.

Here are 5 tips to ensure your marketing is 100% focused on your self-centered customer:

Tip 1: Get Spooky Empathy

It’s not enough to pick a customer persona or avatar. Go the extra mile and interview some of your best customers to find out what makes them tick. Two simple questions can help. First, what does your ideal world look like 2, 5, 10 years in the future? And second, what does your situation look like today?

Their answers will help you see the gap between where they are today and where they want to be in the future, which gives you deeper insight into the emotions, challenges and opportunities your marketing should focus on.

Tip 2: Unearth the “Real” Problem

Your ideal customers want to find solutions to their most pressing challenges and problems. But sometimes they don’t know how to ask. Use strong interrogative questions to help them articulate what the real issue or problem is.

– Don’t ask — “Is this a problem?” (Which begs a yes, no, or maybe response.)

– Do ask — “What are the impacts on your family, business, team if you don’t solve this problem?” (Which elicits a thoughtful answer that will reveal emotional triggers and important clues to what will motivate action.)

Top Tip: be a good investigative journalist and ask: Who, What, How, Why, When and Where questions. When you do, you’ll soon discover the real issues and problems your self-centered customer really cares about.

Tip 3: Decipher their “Secret Playbook”

Every family, business, and team has its own shorthand, jargon and insider shortcuts that help them communicate with each other.

Take notes and ask clarifying question every time you hear phrases or jargon you don’t understand. Understanding this secret playbook of phrases, references and keywords, you’ll be able to craft messaging that speak their language.

Tip 4: Map a “Day in the Life”

Now that you have deeper empathy, a sense of the “real” problem and an understanding of their secret language it’s time to go deeper.

To give depth, personality and dimension to your customer personas and avatars you need to see the world from their perspective. And the best way to get that viewpoint is to use your imagination.

First, set aside at least an hour for this exercise. And start by visualizing your ideal customer. Then in your imagination observe your customer from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. Visualize what their home is like, their morning routine, the commute to the office and what their day is like. Then follow them home, do they stop at the grocery store to pick up dinner? Do they watch TV or read in the evening? And finally, visualize their bedtime routine.

Now keep this person in your mind’s eye as you craft your marketing strategy and messaging. You’ll quickly discover that seeing the world through your customer’s eyes will automatically focus your messaging on what they really care about — themselves.

Tip 5: Describe their Problem Better Than They Can

The final step is building deep connection and authority by being able to describe your customer’s problem better than they can themselves.

When your marketing demonstrates that you fully understand their problem, speak their language and can offer them a solution you’ll inspire response.


There’s an old adage: They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Recognize that your customers are self-centered and embrace the fact. When you do, you’ll create marketing that speaks to your ideal customers and sets you apart from all your competition.

About the Author

Collin Dayley is SVP of Growth and Strategy for One Partners, a leading performance marketing agency with offices in Salt Lake City and Seattle. Learn more about how One Partners can help you Wow! your customers at

One Partners

We’re performance marketers relentlessly unearthing insights that move people to action, delivering agile, innovative, data-driven marketing solutions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *