Are you selling your customers something they want?

Are you selling your customers something they want?

August 11, 2011 by Fiona Humberstone

Some of you will find this an easy question to answer.

You’re on the front line, you know what needs your clients have, you gain instant feedback on new and not so new ideas. And you are able to innovate with your products and services. You’re able to be sure you’re always one step ahead of your competition.

Some of you will find it much harder to know whether you’re selling something your customers want.

Perhaps you’re one or two steps removed from the sales process and you don’t know what motivates people to buy what you sell. Or perhaps you’re so passionate about your stuff that you just don’t want to listen.

The fact is, you can’t sell people something they don’t want to buy.

They might need it, but if you can’t get them to want it, then you’re on a hiding to nothing.

So many businesses get themselves into hot water because they lose touch with what their customers want. They become so absorbed in making their widget better that they fail to notice no one is interested any more.

Ask yourself:

  • Are my customers still passionate about what I’m selling?
  • Does the market in general recognise that there is a need for what I’m doing or do I need to find new powers of persuasion?
  • Are we still getting good feedback about our product or service when we sell?
  • Do people want what we’re selling?
  • Why should they want it? Will that reasoning wash with your customers?

Let your mind wander back to these questions whenever you have a moment. I think on long walks, long car journeys or just for a snatched minute or two here and there throughout my week.

You may throw out more questions than you answer initially. That’s OK. Knowledge is power and just knowing what you don’t know is a big step forwards.


fiona humberstone's picture

Hi Jackie. I think you raise a really good point, and in tough times it's easy for the "frills" to get chopped. What is the benefit to the employers? After all, they are the ones that are paying for it.

It's a tough one because after a while, benefits often get taken for granted. They end up costing employers money and aren't always appreciated.

Think back to your initial sales pitch. Why did these clients sign on the dotted line in the first place? What was the trigger that persuaded them to invest their money? How can you make your business work in a time when salaries are being chopped and benefits cut completely?

You say that your end clients are happy - happy enough to dig into their own pockets? Because you might well be able to persuade your clients to go 50/50 with their staff or even have the end customers paying for the service themselves if the company are prepared to give up the time? I realise that I'm throwing up even more questions for you - but surely that's the fun of running a business? ;-)

Good luck!

Jackie Price's picture

Hi, I was interested in your article but it threw up more questions than it answered for me. My end customers definately want more of what we offer, we are an onsite massage company providing massage at work. My challenge is convincing the budget holders at these companies that they should invest a small amount of money to improve employee health and satisfaction. They often like the idea but do not always buy in to the ROI.

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