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Monday, August 6, 2012

Small Business Strategies: Sell customers what they want

Small Business Strategies: Sell customers what they want - Carroll County Times: BusinessOne of the biggest mistakes small business owners make when they’re either starting their company or launching a new product is to give customers what they think they need as opposed to what they really want.
Your customers’ reasons for purchasing products or services frequently don’t align with what you want to sell them. That’s why one of the most important principles in sales is to listen to your customer or prospect and “find their pain.” Then, once you find their pain, simply give them what they want.
More than 100 years ago a gentleman by the name of Russell Conwell delivered an incredible speech called “Acres of Diamonds.” It was so popular it was delivered more than 6,000 times. In fact, it’s still regarded as a classic today. I highly recommend reading it.
One of the great stories in the speech is about John Jacob Astor, the first multi-millionaire in the United States. The story is about a time when he held a mortgage on a millinery, or hat-making store. Unfortunately, the owners of the hat store couldn’t make the mortgage payments, so he foreclosed the mortgage and then went into partnership with them. He kept the same stock, did not give them a dollar of capital, left them alone and then went out to sit on a park bench.
As he sat on the park bench, he would study the bonnets of the women that walked by. After a while, he went back to the store, described the most popular bonnets and told his business partners to put these bonnets in the store window for sale.
The point of the story is he filled the store window with hats that people wanted. He gave his customers what they wanted as opposed to what he thought they needed.
And you should do the same. Know what your customers want. Know the latest trends. Stop selling people what you want and make sure you sell them what they want.
This may sound really simple, but it’s one of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses make.

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