I have a thing for worldviews. Always have.

I’ve been studying worldviews since I was a precocious preadolescent. I even majored in worldviews in college (okay, we called it “religion” but it sounds slightly more employable to say “worldviews”). Now, I work on understanding people’s worldviews everyday.

I think about your worldview a lot.

Why? Because you’re either my customer or my potential customer. You’re a follower, a fan, a part of my movement.

Even more often, I’m thinking about the worldviews of the people who follow you. Your [potential] customers.

So what exactly is a worldview?

…the beliefs and expectations and biases [people] have about the world
— Seth Godin

In the study of religion, worldviews are mostly codified. There are sets of beliefs – creeds, commandments, scriptures – that followers adhere to. Because of these beliefs, followers are expected to act in certain ways. What’s expected of followers creates biases that reinforce the belief structure. It’s a cycle that keeps the community strong.

Out in the wild world, worldviews are generally not codified. There are no strict sets of rules for breadwinner moms, scifi enthusiasts, or teenage girls who dig math & code. Yet, if I asked you to analyze a situation that involved a person from one of those groups, you could probably estimate the actions that person would take given what you know about the group she belongs to. Social cues and personal experience would guide you.

See, you do know something about worldviews!

So are you using your customers’ worldviews to serve them better, communicate to them more effectively, and sell more of your products or services? My guess is probably not. My guess is that your business revolves around your worldview. And a lovely worldview it is.

If you have the general feeling that people “don’t get” what you do, that’s why. Here’s how to fix it:

Consider their behaviors.

Talk to any of your followers or customers for a bit and they’re bound to relate to you some things that they “do” that coincides with your business offerings. Remember how actions are the result of biases & expectations? That means if you hone in on the behaviors your ideal clients exhibit, you can reverse engineer some of their core beliefs.

Results are behaviors that are changed or transformed. Determining what results you create allows you to point to a shift your customers desire in their worldview.

Recognize their language.

You likely don’t speak the same language as your customers. I sure as heck don’t! So while you’re gathering information on your customers’ behaviors, pay close attention to the words & phrases they use. They are biased towards those words when describing how they feel, what they do, and what kind of results they’d like to achieve. If you incorporate more of those words while retaining your own voice, you give yourself the chance to truly be heard.

Use your customers’ language to call them to attention & action. Use your language to describe methodology or process.

Determine the context.

We subscribe to different worldviews for all sorts of reasons. In the case of religion, we long for a community of faith and the support of the Divine. In a family, we play the role society has taught us. In a job, we fulfill a job description to the best of our abilities. There are all different sorts of context for the beliefs & expectations your customers have. Learning what particular context your very best customers have helps you to create a more well-rounded image of them.

Paint a picture of the context of the results you provide so that your customers can envision themselves in a transformed worldview.

Once you’ve got the behaviors, language, and context of your customers’ worldview, examine your offers & pitches. Are you describing your behavior or theirs? Are you using your language or theirs? Are you assuming your context or theirs?

Making those – sometimes subtle – adjusts can make all the difference in the world.


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