Wisdom//

Customers Don’t Know What They Want. You Have To Tell Us.

You may have heard the famous saying by Henry Ford who claimed that if he asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said faster…


You may have heard the famous saying by Henry Ford who claimed that if he asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. This opens my reflection that we as customers don’t know what we want. We are reluctant to admitting it but in all seriousness, we would love if someone told us what we wanted and needed. It would have to be someone who we trust of course.

Do people coming to Hawaii on vacation know that they want to have a photoshoot in mermaid costumes? They probably don’t. They see a mermaid photo on social media or in a brochure tempting them to sign up for the experience. Usually the buying process is simple:

  • customers see a product or hear about a service enough times so it becomes likable
  • friends have it and talk about it
  • they feel they need it too

Sometimes the process slightly differs. Even though the word of mouth is the most powerful method of convincing, we can be also influenced by a sales person or simply get exposed to the product enough times to want it.

Often, business owners get it all wrong. They overwhelm us with options and ask a lot of questions. They should be more suggestive and intuitive, personalizing and narrowing our options for us. We would like to be presented an ensemble of pieces that fit us, all ready to go, own and wear. Sometimes we feel misunderstood, we’re offered discounts, which we didn’t ask for. We want to pay a premium for a dress because we want to wear it for a special occasion. We love feeling special and want to pay for it. However, we’ll gladly purchase the dress seeing it used to cost more. When we find something on sale, we feel smart. We love feeling smart. There are times when we want ease, receive what we ordered conveniently delivered to us. Sometimes we want speed. That’s when we messed up and are doing things very last minute or when we’re missing something that we didn’t realize we did.

Usually we make business owners aware of what’s important to us but they’re too busy telling us their rehearsed spiel proudly letting us know about the discounts and multitude of options they offer. It’s simple, when we shop, all we want is to be read and understood.

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Originally published at medium.com

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