It used to be that when I went to the doctor, I would find my favorite magazine in the lobby and read it until the doctor was ready to see me. But this last time, I couldn’t find a single issue. I asked the lady at the desk about it, and she explained that the magazine was so popular, patients were taking it home, so the doctor stopped buying it.
Now there’s a business strategy I don’t recommend – find out what your customers want and then don’t give it to them…
Personally, I would have ordered more subscriptions, not less. Because not only do his patients like the magazine; it also keeps them occupied instead of watching the clock when the doctor is running late (and he is always running late.)
Many businesses do this – they find out what customers want and then don’t give it to them.
I used to have a restaurant I really liked, and one of the things I liked best was they would swap one side dish for another. Then one day they told me they couldn’t do it. It was too difficult to swap baked potato for French fries, or broccoli for green beans, even though they had all four in the kitchen.
I figured if they couldn’t swap sides to give me what I wanted, then I couldn’t eat there. And I don’t.
Another restaurant used to cook their ahi tuna all the way through if you asked. Then they got a new chef who insisted that patrons only eat food the way he liked to prepare it. In other words, I could eat raw tuna or I could go elsewhere. Now I go elsewhere.
The trick to a successful business is to truly understand what your customers want and then give it to them, and keep on giving it to them.
It’s not that difficult. Yet so many marketers and business people get this wrong.
And when in doubt, just ask. One time I was going to consolidate all of my courses into one big course and actually ship out a physical product, because I’d heard this was the thing to do.
But first I asked my customers how many thought they would buy it. The answer was, only about 1% would even consider it. Thank goodness I didn’t do it.
One last tip – develop your products or services based on what your customers really want, and not what they should want. Maybe your customers should want to learn how to do an easy task in their business, but they’d rather hand the task over to you to do.
Ok, so your customers have told you about another product they want to buy from you, and you can be obliged to sell it to them!
Giving customers what they actually want may be the greatest business secret of all.
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