Your bestselling product or service could be just one simple conversation away
In business most of us develop products or services based on what we think our customers will buy.
This is a fairly good assumption and it’s reasonable to make this assumption based on our market knowledge, but could there a better way? I tend to think there is. Recently I was running a retreat for aspiring authors. I had a group of ten people all of whom were very engaged and having a great time, so I would consider them to be happy customers. At one stage in the retreat I asked them a simple question “what other products or services do you need that you think I could develop?”. They were all very clear, stating that they would like another retreat to teach them presentation skills.
Now this is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly I took the time to ask them what they wanted me to offer. People rarely offer a suggestion because they are used to business owners ignoring their ideas or alternatively they are concerned about looking silly. They were all very clear and positive and vocal.
Secondly, I followed up and made the new retreat, offered it to them and they supported it. In many respects they had to because they asked for it. But in reality I would never have thought to offer that product without them asking for it.
I’ve experienced this many times over my business career. Whenever I take the time to ask my existing customers what other products or services they would like or they need, I get the best ideas from them. Some of these have gone on to become the biggest income generators for my business and I would never even have imagined them before.
The moral to the story is that to build bigger and better relationships with our customers and at the same time grow our business and make it stronger, we have to have more open and meaningful communication with our customers. We need to be prepared to take the time to talk to them, to find out what their problems are and to listen to their ideas.
Now not every idea we get is going to be gold, and if someone suggests an idea that won’t work, for whatever reason, we need to be prepared to explain to them why we can’t deliver on that idea, otherwise they will feel like they being asked for their advice but it isn’t valued.
This might sound like a really simplistic way to develop new products and experiences, but from my experience very few businesses actually do it this way. I think it takes the risk out of product development and avoids wasting time and money. We’ve all developed products and services that haven’t worked, the main reason is because no one wanted to buy it. And the main reason for that is that we didn’t do enough homework when we developed it.
What we are really looking for is patterns. With my group at the author retreat, all ten people unanimously said that they would love a presentation skills retreat. This is a very good indicator that this is a product that is needed and it would be strongly supported by other similar customers.
Perhaps your new bestselling product or service is right under your nose, waiting for a simple conversation that could change everything in your business.
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About the contributor:
Andrew Griffiths is Australia’s leading Small Business author with 12 books published and currently sold in over 60 countries. He is widely acknowledged as one of the leading minds in the Small Business space. He is a regular columnist on Inc.com out of New York, a Small Business commentator for CBS, a Mentor in the highly acclaimed Key Person of Influence programme and much more. Touting his own unique style of street-smart wisdom and inspiration, Andrew really is one of a kind. Website:http://www.andrewgriffiths.com.au