Know your customer

How to know what customers want

Summary: Get to the heart of what your customers actually want. It is far easier to sell your customers what they actually want and need, than what you think they want and need.

If you are struggling to make sales, have you considered finding out, and then offering exactly what your customers want?

While it sounds simple, most entrepreneurs neglect this fundamental principle.

Here are some key ways to figure out exactly what your customers want you to sell to them.

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Method 1: Go straight to the source.

Ask your existing customers what problems they have, what products they want and what features they want.

Make sure you interview enough people to see if any trends come up.

Method 2: Look at your competition.

If your competitors are doing well with certain products, there is probably a strong demand.

Ask your own customers if they would like you to offer them similar products.

Then analyze your competitors strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as your own to see if you can offer this product in an improved or differentiated way.

Method 3: Direct observation of your customers.

Get permission to follow a few of your customers for a day, observe them and find out what problems they face during the day.

What are their pain points and what would make their lives easier?

Method 4: Map out your customer process.

What is the process that customers follow when they engage with your product or service?

Map this process out step by step and see where things can be improved from your customer’s perspective.

Method 5: Collaborate with customers when developing products.

Implement a formal customer collaboration process where you identify your target customers and get a few of them on board to tell you what they like or don’t like about what you are developing.

Then develop your products having had valuable customer input at every step of the way.

Method 6: Conduct focus groups.

A focus group is when you bring together a group of about 4 – 14 people and ask them about their opinions, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions about your product or service.

Have a moderator ask questions and get the group to interact and be forthcoming about your product or service.

Method 7: Conduct quick customer polls.

Ask customers to vote for their favourite version of your product or service on a poll.

You can use a tool like Shortstack to help you to set up professional looking polls.

Method 8: Train your sales team to be customer centric.

Make sure your team is focused on the customer and takes an pro-active approach to find out if your customers are happy and if not, what would they prefer you to offer them in order to make them happy.

Method 9: Consider your customers’ spending habits.

Identify what customers in your industry are spending their money on.

This gives you a good indication of what they want from the marketplace.

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  • Brienne Donner

    Wow I can’t believe what a dummy I have been. This concept is so simple yet I have never done it – finding out what my customers want before I spend months and months developing a product that may or may not sell. I have been playing roulette with my business hoping that customers will want what I have developed!

    • How 2 for Entrepreneurs

      Hi Brienne. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Entrepreneurs are so busy that it can be tough to always be doing it all. Now that you know, why not make some time to do an exercise like this?

  • Jessica Laurel

    A very informative article thank you. I also like to figure out my customers’ core values and see what I can sell them that aligns with these values.

  • How 2 for Entrepreneurs

    Thank you Jessica, that is a brilliant method.