Seems like a dumb question to ask, huh? As a business owner or manager you MUST know what you are selling. Whether you are a service provider or a product manufacturer/distributor you know what you are selling inside and out and upside down!
But, maybe not.
What are your customers buying?
Sometimes business owners and managers lose perspective on what it is they are selling—or more accurately providing—to their customers. As businesses we create something and sell it, but our customers are the ones who BUY it, and whatever it is we think we’re selling isn’t necessarily what they are buying. For us to market what we’re selling most effectively we need to consider more closely what our customers are buying.
Let me give you a few examples:
- A hair salon may sell great hair cuts. Most women know it’s not the great hair cut. What they are really buying a Great Hair Day.
- An insurance agent sells insurance policies. But people don’t actually want to buy insurance policies, they want to buy peace-of-mind.
- A handyman sells fix-it and repair skills. Homeowners may be buying a shorter “honey-do” list.
- A personal trainer sells workouts. I don’t know about you, but I really have no desire to buy a workout. I want to buy another day fitting into the skinny jeans!
Not only do your customers most often “buy” something different from what you are “selling”, quite often different customers are each buying a different solution to their problem. And that’s what marketing is really about: solving your customers problem.
Solving the Problem.
To market your business strategically you need to solve problems for your customers and prospects. That means thinking about your products and services from their perspective, not yours. There’s nothing wrong with knowing your business better than anyone else, but before you start any marketing or advertising campaign you should always step back and look at it from a different angle. Engage an outside marketing firm to help you assess the big picture and offer ideas. Challenge your employees, friend, and family to give their input. Ask your customers how they use it, where they use it, what they call it—who knows, maybe you’ll discover a brand new market or a new use for your product.
In the end you will most likely sell more of it, and that’s really what we’re all after, isn’t it?