Small-business Advice: What Do Your Customers Want?

Ken Burgin and Elizabeth Walker have an interesting article on the Business in General blog in which they argue that too many 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!

Burgin and Walker have some specific suggestions for matching your sales and marketing efforts 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. The authors suggest you […] 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 customers’ 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?

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