How to Figure Out Exactly What Your Customers Want The majority of companies don't know which of their products and services are most valued by the people who pay for them -- here's how to get it right.
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Q: How can you determine exactly what it is your customers want?
A: This sounds like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. You'd be surprised to learn how many entrepreneurs lurch around, oblivious to their customers' deepest desires. How is this possible? Easy. The entrepreneurs forget to ask. Or they ask the wrong questions. Or they rely on their sales force to enlighten them, and the sales force asks the wrong questions. That's where Jaynie L. Smith comes in.
Smith is co-author of Relevant Selling and CEO of Smart Advantage, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based marketing consultant to clients such as Kraft Foods and Zurich Insurance Group. Her company works with a research firm to conduct double-blind surveys to figure out what companies think their customers want vs. what those customers really want. (Double-blind? Customers don't know who's asking the questions, and companies don't know who's providing the answers.) You could fit a canyon into the space between perception and reality.