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What do your customers REALLY want?….

Well, to illustrate the importance of knowing what your customers really want… let’s take a real life example from the property industry. A property development and building company was promoting a new complex. The company thought the major reason tenants moved into its townhouse complex was the facilities. The reality was the complex just wasn’t filling and about half of it remained unoccupied.

To find out why their marketing wasn’t working the company conducted a phone survey of the existing tenants and asked the following question: “What were the top 6 things (in order of importance) that mattered most to you when you were looking for a new place to live?”

The answers revealed the problem and the solution!

In fact, it wasn’t the facilities that potential tenants set out looking for when they were house hunting. If you’ve ever rented you’ll probably know that to be true – you’re        generally looking for a new home usually with a certain number of rooms, rather than a gated community for example. In this case what the tenants had been looking for was     something with 3 bedrooms, in a certain price range and clean or new. So suddenly it was clear – promoting the complex facilities wasn’t targeting the potential customers’ “hot buttons”, and that’s why the advertising simply wasn’t working.

Since the tenants the company wanted to attract were similar in nature to those already living in the complex, it made sense to change the advertising to reflect those top 3 considerations. And that’s just what they did. When the company incorporated those – “3 bedroom, $300 per week and brand new” in the headline of the ads, it took just 2 weeks for the complex to be fully occupied and have a waiting list for future tenants!

So, if your existing customers are just like the type of people you’d like to attract – similar in nature, needs, demographics and purchasing patterns – then it makes sense to ask your existing customers what was most important to them and use that in your marketing. That way, more “like” people with similar needs will respond to your marketing.

A simple phone survey could increase sales.

Conduct a phone survey of 20 to 30 of your best customers (because that’s the type you want more of), ask them this question and collate their top 3 answers. “What were the top 6 things (in order of importance) that mattered most to you when you were selecting someone to provide our particular type of products or services?”

Their answers will help you understand what really does motivate your customers. Then you’ll know that you can be sure your marketing efforts will address those needs of your clients, and those of your potential clients. Use the top 3 in your marketing as a headline for instance and increase your responses.

Another interesting question is: “What have been the top 6 things that frustrate you most about your industry?” The answers to this question show you what you need to work on – and if possible, eliminate them from your business. This will differentiate your business even further from your competitors.

A different kind of ‘CAB’ could work for you too.

Another great way to gather this information is through a “Customer Advisory Board” or a tailored “Customer Survey”.  At a Customer Advisory Board we facilitate a meeting with up to 12 or so of your customers and ask them a series of questions to find out what they look for from you, what they like and don’t like and want to see more of from your business. Alternatively, sit down and brainstorm a specifically tailored phone or web-based survey to pin point customer needs and suggestions for your business.

If you haven’t surveyed your clients in the last 2 years, and need assistance getting to know your client’s needs, you should start asking!!!