What do you mean you don’t know what your customers want?

I heard a form of this at least 6 times last week:

I just don’t know what my customers are having issues with.  I told them about all of these things they should be concerned about and then they stopped returning my phone calls.

What?  Really?

No one is more important than your existing customers.  They’ve made an investment in you.  Give back to them 10 fold.  Don’t know what they want?  Ask them! I bet they’ll tell you.

Stop selling what’s on your line card, pushing your agenda, trying to get reelected, and inventing things for problems you don’t even have.

  • If your customers distribute HVAC or cleaning supplies, ask them what their 3 pains are in our depressed economy.  Then help them actually solve them. Don’t push them whatever product you’re getting a spiff on this month.  Help them change what you would change, and buy what you would buy if you were in their position.  That’s not selling, that’s sharing expertise.
  • If you are a government agency and you need public support (I’m talking to you NASA), ask the people what they want for their kids.  Think 20 years out, not just about jobs next month.  You get support by actually being visionary, not by being a bunch of posers.
  • If you sell security software, give them a solution that will actually solve their problem instead of a feature list.  If you are in the middle of the pack in your field and can’t figure out why, it’s probably because you sell people features, they only sorta work, and then all of your customers bad mouth you behind your back every time they get the chance (that would be what all the snickering is about).
  • If you’re an inventor, cracking eggs is not a major societal issue.  It’s a pretend problem you’ve invented to basically steal $20 from people.  Coming up with a scam is hard work and takes brains.  Why don’t you help people in underdeveloped countries figure out how to have clean water?

Your relationship with your customers is not about what YOU need!

People want their pains to be easier and they want to grow.  Give them both.  You start by asking them what they need.

You’re an expert in what you do right?  Act like it.

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