Give the people what they want. It’s an often-repeated business mantra. It seems like a simple-enough way to run a successful business. Find out what your client is looking for and give it to them. You would think that every businessperson already knows that this is the key to running a business. But you’d be wrong. Just by doing this seemingly simple task, you can position your business ahead of most of your competition.
All too often, business owners create a product that pleases them, and then go about trying to convince their clients that their creation is exactly what they’re looking for; the solution to all their problems.
But the real problem is that, as business owners, we are often blinded by our own vanity. We think we have the perfect solution to someone else’s problems. We know exactly what someone else needs.
“If I could only get them to realize how great my product is…”
Imagine what would happen to our business if, for just a moment, we stopped listening to that little voice in our head telling us how great we are, and instead focused on what our clients had to say. Maybe, just maybe, they may tell us what kind of problems they’re experiencing; what type of product they’re looking for; what service they would be willing to pay money to receive.
Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find.
Just by resisting our overwhelming drive to have all the answers, by stopping our mouths and opening our ears for just a little while, we may find out something that surprises us.
Maybe our clients are looking for something really simple. Maybe it’s a product we already offer but never promote because we think it’s not worth our time. Or maybe it’s something much easier to produce than what we’re currently working on.
Regardless of what the answer is, by just listening to our clients instead of thinking we already have all the answers, we may find that long-hidden path to success. No longer must we guess what our clients want; we just have to listen to what they have to say, and, as if by magic, we’ll know what it is they want.
What a concept. Give the people what they want.
And what if, after we find out exactly what it is that our clients want, we go one better. What if we tell them that we’re going to give them what they want, and we do, but we also exceed their expectations? What if they are expecting a standard product, but receive an even better version of what they’re expecting? What if we promise to be good, but deliver something great?
What do you think would happen next?
Can you remember the last time that you, as a consumer, had your expectations exceeded? Probably not, because in our just-good-enough world, it doesn’t happen that often. Imagine if you went out to dinner, and the waiter brought you a complementary glass of wine. Or you brought your car to the shop to have the oil changed, and when you got in to drive away, you realized they had washed and cleaned it without you having to pay for it.
How would that make you feel about that business? Would you be inclined to return to that establishment in the future, to spend more money? Would you feel the need to share the news of your good fortune, posting a glowing review of them on your social media channels?
Exceeding expectations. What a concept.
In the home inspection business, our clients are expecting us to deliver an inspection based on well-established industry standards. They (typically) know what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. They’re looking for a standard home inspection to tell them the basic information they need to know in order to make an informed decision about buying a home.
Of course, we’re going to meet the standards of our industry. It’s what they’re expecting us to do.
What would happen, however, if we exceeded our client’s expectations? What if we went above and beyond what’s expected of us? How do you think our clients would feel? How will they would view our business? Do you think they would be more inclined to leave us a positive review? Do you think they will remember what we did and recommend us to their friends and family? And when something stops working in their house (which is bound to happen), do you think they will immediately get angry or will they be more inclined to cut us a little slack, possibly contacting us to ask questions instead of immediately calling their attorney?
Build in a little wiggle room; a little extra value can go a long way.
As businesspeople, all too often we’re fixated on maximizing our profits. Get in, get out and collect our fees as quickly as possible. Deliver the minimum product for the maximum amount of cash. Repeat the process until you’re rich. It’s business 101.
What if we try to think outside the box? What if we do something different? What if we offer a better product at a fair price? What if we deliver more value that your clients were expecting?
You may be surprised at how little effort it takes to exceed someone’s expectations. And you may be pleasantly surprised at how many benefits can come from so little (extra) effort.
Give the people what they want, but also more than they expect.
Exceed your customer’s expectations. If you do, they’ll come back over and over. Give them what they want – and a little more.Sam Walton
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