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What Are Your Customers Looking For?

We are sometimes in the dark about what our customers want, so we make assumptions or ask them in the hope of happening upon the truth. There is a third way to get closer to our customers—one we regularly overlook. People’s actions and reactions can reveal more about their internal dialogue than their words. When did you last spend time watching what your customers do?

As an author, I spend an unhealthy amount of time in bookstores. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen someone take a thick book from the shelf, feel the heft of it in their hand—then put it back. I can almost hear them thinking they’ll never get through it. Sometimes I get chatting to them and ask them what they’re looking for. Most of the time they don’t know.

Try this. Head down to your nearest department store, cafe, gym or wherever your customers are. Then stand back and watch what they do. Are they feeling garments before they check prices? Are they more likely to make a purchase if they’re alone or with someone? Are they looking for something specific? Do they compare prices with online retailers on their smartphone? Do they buy what they came in for? The list of questions, observations and potential insights are endless.

We tend to think of our customers as intentional, rational human beings—which is why we spend a lot of our time marketing to their heads. We make and market better products and services by working harder to get a glimpse of their hearts.

Image by mgstanton.

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