A man arrives back from work to find his wife on the couch crying.
Confused, he walks in and find dirty dishes in the kitchen and no food cooked yet.
The agreement between him and his wife is that whoever gets early does one of the chores, either cleans the kitchen or cooks.
So he looks at the situation and reads between the line.
He thinks, my dear wife is crying because she is tired, the kitchen is dirty and no food is cooked.
So he decides to wash the dishes and gets ready to prepare dinner.
He thinks, if he does that, his wife will cheer up a bit.
When the wife sees what’s happening she burst out crying loud and runs upstairs to the bedroom.
More confused, the husband then runs after her to the bedroom.
He asks her:
“honey, what’s wrong, did I do anything wrong?”
The wife hysterical and trying to contain herself, says:
“I had such a terrible day at work, had a fight with my boss and now when I get home, not even my husband gives me attention. My own husband ignores me”
The husband baffled replies:
“I thought you had a long day at work and the thought of the dishes and cooking made you cry. Hence I started doing the dishes and cooking because I thought that’s what will cheer you up.”
The wife was not bothered by the dishes and cooking more than her husband ignoring her and not asking her what’s bothering her.
Entrepreneurs often behave like the husbands ignoring the wife.
Entrepreneurs assume that they know what the customers [wife] wants and goes all the way to come up with a product that they think customers want [washing dishes], only to be depressed when customers don’t buy from them.
Customers won’t tell you that they angry at you for not asking them what they want, they will just simply not buy from you.
You will be left frustrated why they are not buying from you.
Empathy means understanding what your customers want, but more important connecting and talking to your customers to get a sense of what they want.
Before you spend hours and hours in the boardroom, in your garage, in your workshop, in your office, coming up with what you think customers want, have you spend time talking to them and understanding what they want?
Don’t assume you know what they want, speak to them, engage them, connect with them, get a sense of what they want, how they want it, and when they want it.
Asking and actively listening says we are humble to acknowledge that we don’t know everything.
Connect don’t assume.