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Small Business Advice – What Do Your Customers Want?

Ken Burgin and Elizabeth Walker have an interesting article on the Business in General blog arguing that too much businesses make the mistake of focusing on what they would like to offer rather than what customers would like to buy.

So how do you figure out what customers want?

Ask them!

small-business-adviceBurgin and Walker have some specific suggestions for matching your sales and marketing effort to customer needs. For instance, they suggest writing down the questions your customers ask so that you can be sure to answer those questions in your marketing materials.

Another good suggestion is to probe beyond a customer’s questions to find the motivation behind the questions. Burgin and Walker suggest you should find out what your customer thinks constitutes good customer service before you start talking about how great your customer service is.

Successful businesses excel at identifying and meeting customer needs and wants. If you can take some of the guesswork out of the equation and determine exactly what your customers are seeking, you could be light years ahead of the competition.

How do you find out what your customers want? Do you have an inspiring (or cautionary) story about meeting (or misreading) market demand? We’d love to hear your stories in our Comments section below.


1 Michael McGradyNo Gravatar { 10.05.09 at 9:52 am }

How true it is that a company must discover what sells rather than what they want to sell. My business partner at 42ndplace.com decided to put a variety of items on eBay; 1) a Plastic cereal container, 2) an outdoor grill, 3) Robosapien (child’s toy), 4) Spiderman I DVD. While all of these items sold, neither of us thought they would sell within a seven day period and yet they did. What we wanted to sell, laptop computers, did not sell within that same timeframe. It appears that the laptop market, at least on ebay, is saturated with good deals from which to choose. Obviously we are new at selling on eBay but this is one lesson that we have learned: Understand what sells and forget about what you want to sell.

2 aaronNo Gravatar { 10.14.09 at 9:59 am }

Thanks for sharing your experience, Michael!

Sounds like you are on the path to success thanks to your aptitude for listening to your customers and providing what they want.

- Dollar Days Blog Moderator

3 Promotional ProductsNo Gravatar { 10.25.09 at 5:01 pm }

I like that extension to the customer service issue. Make sure that you and your clients have the same definition of what good customer service means. Pleasing them can be difficult if you both have differing opinions on the subject.

4 aaronNo Gravatar { 10.28.09 at 6:50 am }

Thanks for the comment!

Yes, it’s definitely important to figure out what your customers want both from a product and customer service standpoint in order to meet – and exceed – their expectations.

- Dollar Days Blog Moderator

5 adminNo Gravatar { 01.17.14 at 9:22 am }

Excellent points! Thank you!

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