My son was just entering high school and wanted to have a yellow shirt for his freshman class color day. “Let’s go to Abercrombie and buy me a yellow shirt,” he said after his first day of school. Not wanting to spend $75 on a yellow shirt, I suggested going to Target and he exploded. My high-school daughter, seeing the beginnings of a teenage meltdown, whispered to him that American Apparel “would work” and he quickly agreed.
I was flabbergasted. What just happened?
It turns out I was selling him a yellow shirt, when what he needed was social acceptance. My daughter’s vote of confidence in the American Apparel brand was the assurance he needed to be certain of social acceptance with his new high school peers.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to understand what my son truly needed. My daughter did.
Brands, as well as B2B companies, often don’t listen to what their customers need in their rush to sell the customer what they have.
Last year I was engaged by an international beverage brand that was looking to enter a different class of restaurant. They had tried unsuccessfully for two years and had retained me to figure out how to profitably get into this strata of the restaurant business.
They built their brand on their extraordinary success in stimulating incremental purchases in other retail environments and naturally pitched this proven ability to this new class of retail. But the new class of retail did not respond.
They couldn’t figure out why. What retail establishment doesn’t want incremental purchases???
It turns out this class of retail establishment was relatively happy with the beverage brands they had and were not looking for incremental purchases as a catalyst to augment or unseat these existing brands.
But after much research, I found out one thing that did excite these restaurants – generating purchases from a new class of customers they hoped to attract, Generation Z. After all this new cohort had a tremendous amount of discretionary spending power that they loved to use in these types of restaurants. And these restaurants did want to leverage that spending power into a new generation of lifelong customers.
Fortunately, my client had a series of proprietary advantages that were very appealing to Generation Z. And in addition to a few other strategies we suggested, my client emphasized to buyers that their unique appeal would bring new Gen Z customers into those restaurant chains.
The result – three new regional contracts in the first three months. All as a result of tailoring their pitch to what their customers needed, rather than re-using the sales pitch they deployed successfully with other classes of trade
Perhaps it is time you took a deep dive into truly understanding what your customer needs, too.
What customers really need is for you to understand what they really need
And satisfying a customer’s needs is a critical key to more sales and increased revenue.