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Ep. 34 | Tara-Nicholle Nelson on Helping Customers Along Their Journey

A Podcast by Sarah E. Brown and Bill Cushard on Mar 6, 2017 2:57:34 PM

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Tara-Nicholle Nelson Transformational Consumer Insights on Helping Sells Radio

Tara-Nicholle Nelson

Founder and CEO
Transformational Consumer Insights, Inc.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson, CEO of Transformational Consumer Insights, joins this episode of Helping Sells Radio to discuss how we should pay attention to how our customers want to live their lives differently, and how we can help them achieve that. In her new book, The Transformational Consumer: Fuel a Lifelong Love Affair with Your Customers by Helping Them Get Healthier, Wealthier, and Wiser, Nelson writes about how you can be successful by helping your customers achieve their goals, personal or professional. 

If you think helping a retail customer is any different than helping an enterprise customer be successful, you will want to listen to our interview with Tara. You might just rethink that belief. 

Nelson had an epiphany, early in her career about how to treat customers. As a real estate broker, she noticed that some of her clients expressed to her certain financial, personal, and professional goals that they wanted to achieve in association with the real estate transaction they were undertaking with Nelson. But then the client made decisions that seemed to contradict previously stated goals. Her instinct was to help her clients make better decisions and went to colleagues for advice. "Tara," she heard from fellow brokers. "You need to let the market educate your clients."

That did not sit well with Nelson. She created a course and required all of her clients complete it before she would work with them.

That course turned into a seminar, which turned into a book. HGTV saw the book, bought to rights, and hired Tara to repurpose it for the HGTV audience. 

This experience led Nelson to identify a new consumer segment called, the transformational consumer. 


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The transformational consumer

Nelson wrote an article in Forbes describing the transformational consumer and it got a lot of attention. The article describes a consumer who is looking to become healthier, wealthier, and wiser. Someone who wants to transform themselves and to otherwise become a better version of themselves. In this pursuit, they seek content, tools, and products to help them make those improvements, whatever they are. These consumers are early adopters and influencers, which makes them highly valuable customers to have.

On the surface, these seem inapplicable to enterprise customers, but if you think about it, business customers also want to be a better version of themselves and will seek out solutions to help them so do. The key to finding the commonalities in retail and enterprise customers is how Nelson suggests we look at the customer journey. 

The customer-focused customer journey

Nelson describes how we should all look at our customers' journey, not from the perspective of how our customers buy from us or how they use our products over time, but their journey in pursuing their goal(s). In other words, the customer journey is not about you (us). It's about your customer and the journey they are on to transforming themselves. So, for our business customers it means, understanding the journey they take to improve whatever function they are responsible for. If we can help our customers through that journey, Nelson suggests that they will likely buy from us and not from our competitors. 

This is what helping sells is all about.

Resistance points and progress triggers

So, how do we do this? By helping customers overcome resistance. When people pursue a goal, any goal, there is resistance. These are steps in the journey at which we encounter friction and obstacles and impede our progress. Whether we are trying to get fit or lose weight in our personal lives or make quota and improve NPS in our professional lives, we encounter obstacles. Companies, Nelson suggests, that help customers overcome these obstacles, will earn the business. One way to do this is to help customers discover progress triggers, which are "ah ha" moments when a customer says, "I see, that is how it can be done." 

A few other points

Here are a few other things we talked about with Nelson.

  • Engaging customers in our product/solution/etc. is hard. At it is not a digital phenomenon. Here is that quote Nelson referred to from 1759 about engagement and a link to her blog post describing it. 
    • “Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises, and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetic.” - Samuel Johnson, 1759.
  • The ethics of "helping customers." Here is the link to the Recode Decode podcast interview with Tristan Harris about the ethics of additive products. Sarah referred to this. 

Learn more about Tara 

To learn more about Tara and her work, use the following links:

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Thanks for listening to the show.

Topics: Transformational Consumer, Customer journey, HGTV

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