I was chatting with my brother last weekend and he was telling me of his efforts to upgrade his mobile phone. He had a clear picture of what he was looking for. He wanted it to be compatible with the hands-free setup in his car, he wanted to be able to easily synchronise its contacts with his desktop’s Outlook, etc.
So in he goes to a mobile phone shop and tries telling the shop assistant what he was looking for. But he had no joy with that – because what he wanted wasn’t important to the shop assistant. What the assistant was interested in was selling a phone.
Now that might sound like it’s splitting hairs but no. The assistant had a narrow agenda – wanting to make a sale – and wanting to sell from a particular range of products. The assistant had no interest in helping my brother to buy.
Did the assistant make the sale? No.
Because she didn’t listen.
So she didn’t understand.
So she got no opportunity to consider if my brother’s needs could be satisfied by one of her products.
So she had no chance to offer my brother a product that fit the specification he had in mind.
All she did was to crudely try and put a square peg in a round hole.
What I’m getting at here, as I’ve done before, is the importance of listening to our customers.
If we know what they are looking for then we may be able to offer it to them. Or we may be able to help them see that their choice might not be in their best interests. Or we may learn of some product or service offering that we should consider adding to our own portfolio of products or services. Or… You get the point.
You need to listen to your customers. Or those who may wish to become your customers. They may not be right – but listen to them! If you sense you could do better on listening to your customers – let’s see if I can help.