You either think about your product and how to make the customer want it or think about what the customer wants and how your product can change to meet their want. The first is too often how businesses think. The second is harder, but much better.
Why? It takes work to think about your product from the customer's view. But, it's much easier to think about your product from how you see it. And, it is often difficult to determine what the customer actually wants.
Customer Wants or Customer Manipulation?
Even if you aren't dealing with the end consumer of a product, you still have a product (your work) and a customer (whoever receives your work). So, this applies to anyone with a JOB!
When you have a "Product-OUT Mentality", you rely on manipulation or exhortation to get a "customer" to buy your product. Obviously, that is what gives selling a bad name, because people do not want to be "sold" something - they want to buy something they want or need.
So, it's time to change your thinking and determine what your customer wants. And that means it is best to talk to them and ask them questions. How about asking how they define a good product or a good job? Then after that discussion, you can take your expertise and merge it with their "customer wants" to create a product that matches their need with what you offer.
Obviously, if you aren't offering what they want, change your product or develop a product that will. Also, for businesses, everybody is not your customer, so focus on the people that need your product. Neither individuals or businesses benefit from thinking everyone is a potential customer or client. It's just not true!
Once you know what they want, you can develop a strategy to meet that need to provide the best chance for customer satisfaction.
Find Out What They Want
Now it is time to start the process of focusing on what they want. The easiest place to start is your job. Talk to your "customer" about what they need and want. And, don't stop there, ask what they don't need or don't want. And that brings us to the two great questions to ask your customers...
- What do you need that you aren't getting?
- What are you getting that you don't need?
Think about it. What if someone asked you those questions? Would you likely have more positive thoughts about them? Most likely that would be true even if they had been treating you poorly in the past.
Of course, a big benefit of those two questions is you are taking initiative to meet their needs. Instead of hoping you meet their needs, you ask for feedback and data that is useful for further improvement.
Finally, do not forget about using the Kano Model.
Customers Are the Key for Your Strategy
Strategy is built on 11 questions, but the first 5 are the most important.
- What do we offer?
- Who are our customers?
- What do they want?
- What do we want?
- Is there a match?
The most important of those 5 questions is - you guessed it - "What do they want?"
And, most often what they want is not the features of your product. What is it then? It is about their emotions and the perceived or actual benefits they get from your product. For example, purchasing a luxury product can be about the quality of the product, but more often it is about the customer just owning the product and how it makes them feel.
So, for your customer, focus on the benefits you provide them and how it impacts their thinking and feelings about you and your product.
But, most importantly, TALK to your customer and start with the 2 key questions.