You’re the Expert: What Your Audience Doesn’t Know CAN Hurt

Concept development
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Title graphic for Hillary Weiss blog post titled Embrace your expertise: what your audience doesn’t know can hurt them.

Maybe you’ve heard this one before:

I asked DOZENS of people what they wanted in a program and basically none of them ended up buying!

I asked people what they wanted in a podcast. It’s not stuff I actually want to talk about, but should I just do it anyway…?

^^ I hear stuff like this fairly often in my coaching practice/sprints/VIP days — and listen friend, it happens.

LOOK: market research and polling can be super handy. It’s a great, often necessary way to get insights for messaging, feedback to mull over on aspects of your initial ideas, etc.


Where I find people get stuck is putting audience’s input (usually with a VERY small sample size of respondents) above their own knowledge, expertise, and view of the market when it comes to products and offers they want to create…

… Because they’re not willing to bet on themselves to see the opportunity and make the call.

What Your Audience Doesn’t Know CAN Hurt

The issue is twofold:

1, Opinions =/= buyers and listeners.

Folks might be well-meaning with their answers, but whether they’ll actually BUY what they ask for is another matter entirely.

And often by the time the product/offer you’ve designed for them comes out, they’ve moved on to another issue, or solved that problem another way.

2, Your audience doesn’t have the depth of knowledge you do, and simply don’t have the full scope of the help you can offer them.

“I’ll Take Diamond Ring and a Pony for $10, Alex”

So that’s why you get a lot of “diamond ring and a pony, for $10” answers when you poll people about what they want from you/how much they’d be willing to pay. ‘

(^^^ and you only have to ask that last question once to learn to never ask it again!)

Folks don’t know what they don’t know. And if they can’t imagine it, they can’t place value on it.

And honestly, why should they?

As an expert, your audience shouldn’t be responsible for your ideation.

Be the Expert – Learn to Trust Your Experience

That’s why, if you look at the patterns, the industries best know how to to spot and anticipate need (because they know their audience, market, and subject inside and out), as opposed to ask and ask and ask in the hopes they’ll find a home run.

For example…

Imagine going to a fancy restaurant, and when you sit down the server’s like:

“I dunno, what do you want? You tell us, we can make anything!”

And then stands there, silent and expectant, waiting for your reply.

It may seem cool for about 30 seconds, but eventually you’d probably say:

“Uhhh all I can think about is grilled cheese and I’m about to drop $500 on this meal. So listen buddy, I’m here to eat, not to think. Just tell me what’s good!”

(Not to mention, you’d have some questions about the way the kitchen was run.)

Nay — in fact, the world’s best restaurants have extremely limited menus!


Because they know what they do well, and they’re all about creating the experience FOR you… which is what you pay for.

Stop Crowdsourcing and Start Shipping

Anyway — if you get a couple tequilas in me at a conference bar I will monologue emphatically about how a lot of online biz folks NEED TO STOP CROWDSOURCING THEIR NEXT MOVES JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE PLAYING CHICKEN WITH THEIR IDEAS.

But for now I’m just here to remind ya:

You probably have all the knowledge required to anticipate needs/create awesome stuff for your audience without their input.

After all — you work with your clients every day.

You solve problems every day.

You get results every day.

You work your magic every day.

Chances are, if you let yourself be still for a moment and put your mind to it, you’d have a pretty solid inkling of what people need — even if they don’t know they need it yet.

So practice trusting yourself on that.

See what happens.

Write on,

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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