Uncovering You

How come folks do business with you? Because youíre a family owned and operated company? Because youíve been slogging along for 126 years? Because you have sterling customer service? Great prices and cool sales assistants? You may have all these things going for you, but itís probably not why your customers come to you. And itís not the stuff thatís really going to persuade potential customers to do business with you.

Thereís something special about your business, and it isnít even completely defined by your Unique Value Proposition. You know whatís special about you Ė trust me. Itís just that you donít know you know it, or you donít think itís important enough. So it isnít something you communicate to your potential customers.

Thatís where the process of Uncovery rushes in to save the day.

No doubt you recall MAP, our methodology that guides you through developing the persuasive architecture of your Web site? Uncovery is the first phase in the process:

ďSkillful uncovery is the first necessary step toward designing and developing effective persuasive architecture. Neglecting this phase would be the architectural equivalent of constructing a building but omitting the footers!  Uncovery is responsible for mapping objectives, developing strategy, understanding the customer's buying process, understanding and refining the sales process, researching keywords and key phrases and defining the key business metrics you will use.  If you don't get the uncovery part right, you won't be able to define or measure success.Ē

Okay, so itís appears to be all the stuff that gets the ball rolling. But what does it mean? 

What is an Uncovery?

The truth is, most folks donít really know why people do business with them. They suffer from an ďinside the bottleĒ mentality that keeps them from seeing whatís truly going on around them. There are often crucial pieces of information that are hidden to them, and thus hidden to their potential customers. The purpose of uncovery is to root out that information and share it with everyone.

One of the best models to understand what the uncovery process accomplishes is the Johari Window, a communications model invented by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in the 60s. It describes the process of human interaction. If you can apply this as a model for interaction design, it is even more pertinent for the Web.

Letís talk about the Johari Window. ďSelf,Ē thatís me, and Iím a whiz-bang tax lawyer. ďOthers,Ē thatís you, my customers and potential customer base.

The OPEN quadrant represents all the information we both know about my business. Itís the stuff I acknowledge about myself and put into brochures, or magazines, or newspapers, or on television so that you know it too. You and I share this information. Itís OPEN.

Then thereís information you know about me that I donít ever get to learn. You might have heard someone complain Ďcause I wouldnít let him itemize a deduction the way he wanted. Your neighbor may have had several experiences sheís happy to share with you. You know this stuff, but I donít. I am BLIND to it.

The information that you and I both donít know is UNKNOWN. It might not always stay UNKNOWN as we continue along the path of doing business together, so it basically represents future possibility.

What You're Not Saying is What Matters

The critical piece I need to grasp for my Web efforts to be most successful is the HIDDEN area, the part that I actually know about myself and youíre really desperate to know.

Think about this. When was the last time you made a considered purchase? It probably took a lot of time Ė you probably spent a lot of time researching and shopping around. And eventually, still with unanswered questions, you came to the Web hoping youíd find reviews and opinions that provided the answers you needed to discover.

This is the main reason why many visitors come to the Web to do business with you, and this is the area that you want to open up as much as possible. By being the resource that finally answers the questions your visitors canít get answered anywhere else, this is where you can really maximize the ROI of your Web site.

After all, the more you are able to help your visitors meet their goals, the more you will help you meet yours.

Stay tuned to this same Grok channel. Next time weíll peek into what happens in the uncovery process!

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