Yesterday I was at a bookstore checking out some books. I grabbed a book and sat down to browse through it.

And then something interested happened.

I then saw a young lad checking out some books on the shelve, picked one book, felt it, look at its thickness and then put it back.

And then an older lady on the opposite isle, picking up book, opening it, browsing it for a moment, and then put it back.

I can almost hear them thinking they will never get through it.

Entrepreneurs are sometimes in the dark about what our customers want, so we make assumptions or ask them in the hope of happening upon the truth.

There is a third way to get closer to our customers, one we regularly overlook.

People’s actions and reactions can reveal more about their internal dialogue than their words.

When did you last spend time watching what your customers do?

Try this. Go to your nearest store, cafe, gym or wherever your customers are.

Then stand back and watch what they do:

  • Are they feeling clothes before they check prices?
  • Do they check the prices before feeling the clothing item?
  • Are they more likely to make a purchase if they are alone or with someone?
  • Are they looking for something specific?
  • Do they compare prices with online retailers on their smartphone?
  • Do they buy what they came in for?
  • The list of questions, observations and potential insights are endless.

We tend to think of our customers as intentional, rational human beings, which is why we spend a lot of our time marketing to their heads.

We make and market better products and services by working harder to get a glimpse of their hearts.

Sometimes it is not what they say that is important, it is what they do.

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