Doug over at Solution Junkie picks up on my earlier posts and adds a couple of valid points – your customers don’t know your products, and they will often try to give you solutions instead of needs. Very true…
This whole thread reminded me of an interview that Context Magazine did many years ago with Peter Drucker (here). In it he says that it is very hard to know your customers – yet the only way to compete is by doing it in their context – which most companies do not understand.
In the interview he starts by stating the obvious, although many people just cannot accept this – 99/9% of your customers couldn’t care less about your product or service.
He continues by saying that companies amass an enormous amount of information about their existing customers, yet 70% of the people or organizations that should be your customers are not yet. So if you want to understand the customer, those people who are not your customers yet are the key ones to understand.
He also believes that customers never buy what we sell – and that most of us do not know that!
Yet in order to win he says:
“There are very few companies in the world that can turn out superior products ahead of what the competition offers. And you can’t get business any more by being cheaper. Not for very long. Quality, service, yes, you can still differentiate there. But fundamentally you have to differentiate yourself by structuring yourself within the customer’s business. You have to understand it.”
A conundrum anybody?