The sun is out today and it’s not too cold. I wanted an excuse for some fresh air, so I took Dani to the dog park. We were there for about 30 minutes and met Maxine, Boomer, and Polo.
Maxine is three and was trained to be a seeing eye dog. She was dropped from the program just before graduation. She’s a very calm dog but gets distracted. Polo is a rescue dog. He’s four years old and a “people dog”. He never socialized with other dogs so he doesn’t play very well. Boomer is a two year old Lab. His owner told me that he was raised with his ex-girlfriend’s German Shepard. When they split up she took her dog, and Boomer misses him a lot. Finally there was Dani. Dani is a 16-month old German Shepard who has been with my daughter and her now fiancé since she was 10-weeks old. She’s okay with other dogs but is a bit of a tease. She looks like she wants to play, and even makes the first move but then backs off.
Dani was in the mood to play. What I found fascinating is how differently she approached each of the dogs.
She worked hard to get Maxine to play. Maxine wasn’t very interested in Dani’s antics until I tossed a ball to Dani. Once Dani had the ball Maxine wanted to play. The two of them played on and off for a bit, then went their own ways happily smelling everything in sight.
Boomer was playful. The two of them clicked immediately and had a blast running around together.
Her advances to Polo were fascinating. She followed him around. She nipped at his neck. She stalked him. She barked at him. He played a bit but then would back off. Dani continued to try to engage him for five minutes until we left.
It got me thinking…
So often the marketing advice I hear is about creating an “ideal client avatar” and targeting all of our messaging and marketing to that imaginary person. Yet as I watched Dani engage the three different dogs, each in a different way, I’m forced to wonder if that makes sense. Remember, even our ideal client comes with a unique history and personality. And then there is the person who does not fit your “ideal client” criteria and yet is someone you love working with.
It’s impossible to market in every tone and yet, if there is one thing I have learned in my 15 years in business and through every conversation I have ever had, if you want to engage someone in something you are interested in, you must meet them on their terms, and talk about what they are interested in, to get them to a point where they are open to discussing or considering what’s on your mind.
In short, meet them where they are. Speak their language. Listen to what’s on their mind. Gain their trust, and then they’ll be open to what you want them to hear.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic. Please share them in the comments section below.