Your Customer Does Not Always Know What They Want

Any sales or marketing person will tell you that the key to sales is identifying the customers' wants, needs and pains…..and then providing a solution for them.  Or better known as, ask them what they want and give it to them.

What about when the customer doesn't know what they want?  Or they only think they do?

Assuming that the customer knows what they want is assuming that the customer knows all available options.  They usually don't.

“If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse’.”  ~Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company

As the expert for your product or service, it's your job to show the customer what will best fit their needs.  You do this by asking questions, discovering what they want, what they desire, and showing them the best possible solutions based on your expertise.  Some of these solutions may be something the customer was not even thinking about or didn't know existed.

By simply asking what the customer wants and giving it to them, you are not positioning yourself as an expert in your industry, your just acting as a store clerk and demonstrating that you know little more than the customer when it comes to your industry.

You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new. ~Steve Jobs, Apple Computers

The next time someone walks through your door and tells you what they want, don't take it on face value until you have done some digging and asked the right questions.  You may find that the itch they need scratched is only a small part of a much bigger need.  This is what separates the “order fillers” from the real experts of their industry.

Malcom Gladwell on spaghetti sauce

This is a great  Ted video by Malcom Gladwell showing that customers do not always know what they want…..until they are presented with it.



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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
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