Last time, I shared the importance of recognizing your customers’ needs above your own. Over the years, countless companies have vanished because they failed to recognize the shifting needs in the marketplace. People want to buy a product that offers creative solutions to life’s challenges, which can come in any size. We all expect innovators to anticipate our latest desires before we seek a solution. As a marketer, your greatest challenge is to know so much about your customers that you are not guessing about your next offering.
Do you ever wonder what that man selling hot dogs is really selling? How can he draw a crowd every day at lunch? Those are just hot dogs! What about the insurance agent? Do people really buy an insurance policy, or do they buy peace of mind and protection against loss? Consider your product that is currently under construction. Are you really selling a widget? Maybe you want to sell so much more than that. Even the most traditional business is based on solving underlying needs that the customer senses but cannot name. Your challenge is to reach past your own product and connect with your customers.
An Outlandish Approach
A few weeks ago, I tried something that many people thought was crazy. Honestly, even I thought my idea was pretty far out there. We were promoting an incredible product that was designed to benefit our customers’ businesses through advertising. The product was selling, but I wanted to create an amazing response. The thought crossed my mind to pay for the product for the people who were hesitating. I offered an unconditional loan, which was less than $10, and an avalanche of responses flooded my email box.
Now you might be wondering why I would take that approach. My idea to offer loans was more about the people involved. I wanted them to try the product without risk. I knew they would make money if they would just implement the product. No one could lose in this situation. Now some people warned me that some people would buy pizza, but I just don’t think about people in that light. I was not offering to buy cars, just a great product with remarkable potential.
Your Unique Approach
I know that I will meet new people through that first-time-ever loan approach. That is more important than a few dollars. I want to reach out to people in ways that move them forward on their pathway to success. What could be more rewarding than watching someone else see remarkable results? Sometimes, the strategy brings more satisfaction than any amount of money could.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a special approach when approaching other people. My style might not work for you. You might develop your niche by learning from five or more other people and then devising your own strategy. We place too much emphasis on our widgets and not enough emphasis on the person who offers great insights about the market. One conversation might be the source of countless ideas for your next step. You might change course based on what you hear one night in a restaurant. You would be amazed to find how many great product ideas can emerge from a question you ask in a group of friends.
How Did We Get Here?
Few people living today were around to witness the emergence of the energy, transportation and communication industries. Simple living included candles for light and domesticated animals for labor and transportation. People living in the 19th century were content with a peaceful existence. Entrepreneurs noticed the need for a safe light source, so kerosene was produced. Countless other inventions followed and today we have gadgets that were part of science fiction stories less than a half century ago.
As you think of new products, consider the ways you can reach past the need and find your customer. Your ability to anticipate your customers’ next step will allow you to connect with people in ways that you never thought possible. Connections with other people will provide invaluable information as you take another step. Before long, you will have so many ideas that you won’t be able to stop your own success.