Often entrepreneurs ‘think’ they know their customers. And to a large extent, this may be true for your business. However, how can you guarantee this is true or know if anything is missing?
We may understand some of their desires relating to the product or service, but when was the last time you really researched this in depth to understand if you could tailor your offerings to suit their missing needs (perhaps even needs they don’t realize they have).
In this article, we’re going to look at varying aspects of your current and future customers through the eye of a use case where a customer wants to lose weight. I’ve chosen this scenario as the majority of us can relate to wanting to lose a few pounds or become healthier at one point in our lifetime.
How your offerings are delivered can be in a multitude of ways, but first understanding the underlying needs, wants, challenges, their background and ultimate goals are needed.
Ok, let’s dive in. So, you’ve received an email or message (phone or maybe through your website), that a client is interested in your services. You offer a range of services and products to assist in weight loss.
How can you determine the right fit of services and products for this customer? Ideally, you’re looking at what I call the 5-point customer assessment (with the next post I’ll go into this in detail). Let’s start with your customers goals.
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Researching your customers’ goals
Your customers’ goals will often relate to their needs or wants, often though there is an underlying challenge they are having and stemming from their background. For instance, let’s look at personal coaching for weight loss.
Perhaps your customers’ goals are: lose weight; get healthy; or move better. How can you validate these goals with them? I like to use the next steps in the customer assessment and move into their background.
Researching your customers’ background
Understanding where a person comes from, again allows you to evaluate the factors that are impacting your customers goals. The background questions that you’re going to look at will vary in the type of services and products that you offer.
For instance, in our weight loss scenario, the types of questions I would be asking will be personal of nature. Keep in mind, likely you will not have built up a trusting relationship with this customer, so the answers you’ll receive need to be weighted according.
These questions could be, how long have you struggled with loosing weight? What if your family history and current situation?
Now, let’s dive into some techniques on researching your customers challenges.
Researching your customers’ challenges
Again, likely the trust relationship is not yet built, and many people will be reserved in their answers. This is a section where you’ll need to tread lightly and gently to dig in deep with your customer to help guide the process.
Challenges in our scenario could be flushed out with the following types of questions:
- What have you done to lose weight in the past?
- What struggles do you have when you try and lose weight?
In getting them to dig deeper, you can go into the emotional factor. And this applies to SO many situations, not just weight loss. Our emotions and how we approach a situation from an EQ perspective drives our actions.
Researching your customers’ needs
Often when you ask your customer about their needs, it will tie into their goals, but likely it’s really their wants. This one can be tricky for some customers to understand the difference, so this is where your experience in analyzing and dissecting their answers will come in.
For instance, in our weight loss scenario, a need your customer may state is that ‘I need to fit back into my old clothes’. This is truly a need from their perspective, however it’s more of a want than a need.
Hearing from your doctor that ‘you need to lose weight’ truly is a need, as the body may not be functioning as it should.
Researching your customers’ wants
When interviewing customers about their wants, I’ve experienced a multitude of reactions and feedback and types of answers. Some customers just state their needs (and again it’s important not to dismiss these as they are seen as a need from your customer), where with other research and customers, they only have wants.
An easy way to elicit these wants and needs are to simply present open-ended questions, rather than the simple yes and no answers.
You can use the 20,000 foot view and help them dream to get out of their current scenario, as some folks may seem trapped in it and having a hard time seeing another perspective.