Monitoring your internal monologue

One of the best ways we have to intuit the way others decide is to understand how we decide. We have a voice in our heads and we assume others do too. We don't like rancid cheese and we assume others don't either.

I've met two kinds of successful intuitive marketers. The first kind has absolutely no ability to describe why people do what they do. They just know. I talked with a famous fashion designer for two hours and came away believing that she has no idea whatsoever how or why purchasing decisions are made. She has no words for it.

The other kind is an honest witness of the decision-making that goes on every day inside. "Why did I just choose that?" "Why do I believe this? Is it because of something my dad said when I was three?" "Why did I give $100 to that charity? Why not zero? A thousand?" This self-insight is difficult and valuable. It means that you can't take things at face value, even things that you might be more comfortable leaving unexamined, as truths. Theologians wrestle with this dilemma all the time. How can you study an idea or a trend or a belief system if you also accept it as a universal, unquestionable fact?

And so the smart marketer throws away bias and stops cheering for one outcome over another and instead quietly takes notes on herself. Notes start shallow, but if you push, you can get deeper, stripping away layers of previously unexamined instinct. You can test those notes, see if they occur in other people when you vary the inputs. And it's this series of notes and tests that give you insight on how to share your next idea.