Success! You are confirmed.
Learn to read your customers' minds with Sales Safari Live
You know that old saying, “comedy is tragedy plus time”?
It’s a simple formula that captures a kind of magic, or maybe alchemy: Time transforms. It’s an ingredient you can’t skip or substitute, if your goal is to produce a giggle and not a sob.
The same is true for you:
An enduringly successful course is hard work plus customers.
No customer, no sale, no success, all sobs. Now that’s a tragedy!
Like time, you can’t control the transformative ingredient in this formula — the customer.
They are a fully formed human with their own needs & wants, desires & annoyances, agenda and goals.
That’s why creating and selling is so scary, and why it’s so tempting to procrastinate or dither. It’s the sheer uncertainty of it all. You can control the effort you put into designing your course, producing each lesson, even your marketing…
No matter what, your success depends on the customer.
To try to get a grip on the slippery situation, you ask yourself a million questions:
- What should I teach?
- What format should I use?
- How should I price it?
- How should I market it?
But did you notice? They’re all mechanical questions of doing stuff, all on the “hard work” side of the equation. The part you can control. The part that’s you.
The real, scary, meaty question is this:
What if I put in all this work… create the lessons, hours of research, hours of editing, put it all out there, under my own name, publicize it, so everybody knows what I’ve done… and nobody buys?
What if you build it, and they don’t come?
What if it won’t add up?
What’s especially unfair about this anxiety is that not even success will banish it. Sometimes success merely transforms it:
Sure, I made some sales. That was great! But not enough sales, not yet. What should I do next? What if that doesn’t work? What if it was a fluke and I can’t do it again?
That right there is the lurking terror hidden behind a million smaller, superficial fears we blame for our avoidance, endless thrashing, and delay.
It’s not really about the details of what to do, or when, or how. It’s about the not knowing. And the worrying that you’ll never know.
That’s what powerlessness feels like.
But if you’re ready to admit it to yourself? It’s actually a power move in disguise.
“Congratulations! You’re stuck.”
First off: You made it this far. Pat yourself on the back.
Second: You’re not alone. Feeling this way isn’t some indictment of your character or abilities, it’s totally normal. And common!
And, even better…
The fact that you’re stuck, right now, doesn’t say a thing about your potential.
Being stuck doesn’t mean you shouldn’t launch a course, or that your initial success was a fluke, or that you’ll be stuck grinding it out forever at the shallow end of the success pool.
Just like not knowing how to solve an equation doesn’t mean you suck at life, or even at math.
Feeling stuck just means you need to learn more.
Specifically, you need to take that success equation and intentionally balance out your hard work with knowledge about your customer.
Factual knowledge, not guesses (or hopes). Not advice from peers, or even people ahead of you. Not trying, fruitlessly, to copy what other coursemakers did.
Think about it: What could you achieve if you could really understand your actual customer?
How amazing would it be if you knew what kind of course your audience wanted — and that they were willing to pay for — before they even asked for it?
And if you knew exactly what types of things they share with their peers, how much easier would that make it for you to build your list and design your launch?
Imagine, for a second, that you could get your existing students to tell you exactly what to improve — or what new product to sell them — without having to ask.
What if you could, in essence, read your customers' minds and predict their behavior?
Rather than trying to talk yourself out of perfectly valid concerns, or thrash yourself into pushing through, you could instead solve the problem by studying your customer as diligently as you pursue the work of creating.
Your success is hard work plus customers.
You could complete that equation and unlock your future.
With Sales Safari, you can banish the fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Sales Safari is our audience research method designed based on the field of design ethnography.
It’s a simple but powerful premise:
To create successful products, you have to understand how people really behave.
To learn how people really behave, observe them in their native environment.
When you understand how your potential customers really behave — what they really want — the pain from the lack of control? Poof! It’s gone. Control is the desire of the powerless.
When you understand someone, all you have to do is serve their needs.
You can learn to read your customers’ minds with Sales Safari
Here’s how Sales Safari works, in brief:
- Find where your potential buyers hang out
- Analyze conversation topic trends and interactions
- Take structured observations
- Do this across multiple communities
When you go on Safari, you find your customers online — forums, mailing lists, LinkedIn, blogs, chat, Twitter. You use techniques to analyze what they post and do, and you'll learn how they talk to each other and about their problems, what they want and need, recommend and hate, buy and share.
No cold-calling. No cold-emailing. No surveys or polls. You don’t enter into the equation and you don’t distort the results.
You just drop in and observe what they're already doing, in public. They won't even know you're there.
(Plus, of course, you’re taking a broad sample rather than interviewing a precious few!)
You’ll make better courses because of your research
You’ll be able to use…
- your potential customers’ actual problems to design your course
- their actual words to write your copy
- their actual questions to tailor content marketing they can't resist
Plus, of course, you’ll know what they actually share and buy, and at what price points, and how they think about value.
Best of all, Sales Safari is forever. You can apply the exact same techniques to your existing customers’ comments, complaints, questions, and support requests to help you refine and improve your current course, design upsells and add-ons, or build your next big thing.
Sales Safari is more than just “reading.”
When you're in "reading" mode on the Internet, you're always thinking about how what you read applies to you. You’re ignoring stuff that doesn’t apply to you. Here’s the thing: You are not your customer.
Sales Safari is a way to look beyond the surface of forum threads and blog comments and read your audience's mind.
To understand them so well and empathize with their problems, to create content and courses that really meet their needs, to build trust and a sterling reputation.
Sales Safari is professional-grade.
Professional researchers and industrial designers don’t rely on self-reporting, they do in-home and follow-along studies to see if what people say and what they do are the same (hint: they rarely are!).
Of course, you can’t fly around the world just to lurk in your customers' living rooms. You also don’t have to. You’re selling an online course to online people, not a cleaning spray or a drill.
Over the past decade since I originally designed it, we’ve evolved Safari from an exhortation to “go read the forums and identify pain points” into a step-by-step process to help you extract business gold from even the most seemingly mundane internet chatter.
There are concrete rules for the types of content, categories for the data you find, techniques to learn to write and speak like your audience, and rules for ferreting out the most wily and subtle of pain points.
You’ll even learn how to take notes.
After they learn Sales Safari, our students often say, "I can never read the internet in the same way again!"
Learn Safari in our live workshop during Discover Fest
On Monday, November 23rd you can join Alex Hillman for a rare live, interactive Sales Safari workshop.
You'll learn how to Safari with real, interactive practice and coaching, and tips on how to begin applying that shiny shiny Safari gold to your sales pages, your marketing, and even in your course itself. Plus time for Q&A
You'll get the videos, the lessons, slides, transcript, and recordings to save and review forever.
Plus printable rules, checklists, and worksheets!
And best of all, this entire 2 hour experience, videos, transcripts, and printable goodies…is totally free thanks to your friends at Teachable!
You just have to invest the time. And if the superpower of reading minds helps you make even a couple more sales of your (future?) course, you can be sure it'll pay you back over & over again, for the rest of your career. That’s time well spent.
Finish the equation. Banish the uncertainty. Create your success through understanding and respecting the people who can make it happen: your customers.
Alex Hillman co-founded Indy Hall in 2006, one of the world's first coworking spaces, and helped kickstart the global phenomenon of coworking.
Since 2009, he's been running Stacking the Bricks with his friend and biz partner Amy Hoy, where they teach creative people how to bootstrap their own businesses. Most recently, he's the author of The Tiny MBA: 100 Very Short Lessons about the Long Game of Business. He lives in Philadelphia with my wife and friends. He loves food, travel, red wine or whiskey, and karaoke. You can follow him on Twitter!