Is It What You Like?
One thing that stood out as I reflect on last year’s clients and workshops that I delivered, was the number of business owners, both service and product based, on and offline, that deliver based on their own personal preferences. Some go as far as to design or only sell products that they like, dismissing anything that they wouldn’t personally purchase.
Now think about it – if you are a hairdresser and a client comes in wanting blonde hair, do you colour it black because you like black? No. You might discuss their skin tone, or issues with going blonde, but you don’t ignore their preference and wishes. You offer all colour options because to say you only do black would not only be crazy, it would seriously limit your customer base.
And only last week I was in a store and asked if there was a possibility of stocking a particular item and their response was “oh we’ve had lots of customers asking about those, I might have to look into it” What?! You have had lots but not taken the opportunity to stock them, yet stock ones which you say aren’t selling well. Err? Perhaps consider changing your range? Start asking your customers if they would prefer x? Do some market research?
So why are some business owners dead set on delivering only to their likes and dislikes?
Is it risky?
It could be said that you will only attract similar people to you and that is a good thing?
It could be argued that if you like it then so must plenty of others.
However, the risky part of this approach is that liking something is one thing, but having them all buy it is another. Have you taken into account the cost, how it is sold, where it is sold, when it is sold, who is selling it? Can you find enough people prepared to buy your product or service that fit all of the same criteria? Where do you find all these people that like the same thing as you? Unless your product is such a mass-market product already widely known and sold such as Nike footwear or it is a service such as a post office which everyone needs and there is no choice, then sticking to your own likes only could be a costly decision.
Let’s take the example of someone who sells baby clothes bricks and mortar and online but only sells the ones they like and bought for their baby.
You like them visually, you accepted the cost, you accepted the design, the fabric, the ethical qualities, you liked the store you bought them from or the online store delivered to your liking, you liked the convenience of how you bought them, you liked how they fit your baby and were true to size, you liked how they washed, you liked the range and bought many from it, you liked the store’s refund policy, you liked that they couldn’t be bought in every high street store, you liked the minimal designs…..the list goes on. The point is, you liked a whole heap of things that may have driven your buying decision.
Now go and find 10 other people that have exactly the same buying habits as you and think exactly the same as you about that product. But this time, give them other choices. Now do they all solely buy your preference? I would hazard a guess not. Maybe they see something else they like more. Maybe your shipping is too expensive. Maybe your store is too far to visit and they want to touch and feel so don’t want to buy online. Maybe they have a friend who had a bad experience with your store. Maybe they have found some on sale elsewhere.
There are so many factors affecting a person’s purchasing decisions. And therefore, although I am not telling you to sell so broadly to appeal to everyone and no one, nor am I telling you to niche, what I am saying is, you MUST speak to your potential customers!
Gather feedback, gather insights into what would or wouldn’t make them buy, ask them what they like about your product or service, ask them what they would change, ask them what attracts them, ask them about your prices, ask them about the quality, the functionality, your opening hours, your location, their ability to navigate your website…..the list goes on. But yep, you gotta ask them.
Basing a business only on what you like or what you would buy is risky.
Need help understanding what your customers might or might not want? Drop me a line here.