December 3, 2018 10:00:00 AM EST

Do Customers Need Your Product or Are They Providing Their Own Solution?

How much does your target customer base need you? Can your product or service be easily replaced with something else that is cheaper, simpler or more efficient? For example, are you a car manufacturer targeting a demographic that prefers bicycles? Your instincts may tell you that everybody needs a car, but everybody isn’t buying your product. This is just one of the reasons it’s so important to be aware of your customers' unarticulated needs and your own offering solutions.

We’ve been talking about meeting client needs a lot lately and that’s because it’s so important! Read more here: Is Your Company Meeting the Needs of Your Customer? And also here: Do You Have a Clear View of the Market You Are Competing In?

Your company does more than sell a product. You’re meeting a need, providing a solution or enhancing an experience. Maybe a little bit of all three. Let’s go back to the example of the car manufacturer. If you don’t know that your target demographic prefers bikes, you’re just going to keep marketing your cars in a way which is ineffectual to them.

Do some research. Find out what they prefer and then find out why. What is it about your cars that is not meeting the customer’s needs? The primary need for a car is to travel, but a bike can also fulfill that need. Delve into the differences. Cars are obviously more expensive to purchase and maintain, whereas bikes are relatively cheap and low-maintenance. Maybe you’re going after an urban market with limited parking space and shorter commutes. Cars might not be the best way to get around for this demographic.

If that is the driving factor (no pun intended) for your audience, you’re in a tough spot. There’s not much you can do to make your car cheaper than a bicycle. So, what do you do? Maybe it’s time to consider whether you are going after the wrong market. These people might not be your ideal customers. Find a market that needs and wants cars.

Cost may not be the only factor keeping your customers from buying your car. Fuel economy might be another concern. So, while you can’t make a car cheaper than a bicycle, you can make your car more cost effective.

Does your target audience have a problem with the style of your car, is it old fashioned? Bulky? Learn about what they like and don’t like and see if you can adjust accordingly.

If you know what you’re competing against, in this case a bicycle, why is your car better than a bike? It gets customers where they need to go faster, it can carry more cargo or additional people. What are the strengths of your product? Highlight the reasons why your car is the superior purchase, especially if you’re looking to sway a certain demographic. Let’s go back to our urban commuter example. Smaller cars with good city gas mileage are both going to be a plus. It’s up to you to fill in the gaps. What makes your car perfect for city commuting?

Why do people need your car? Commuting is not the only reason. For example, a car provides freedom to escape. Good luck traveling to the beach on a bicycle. Think about all the reasons someone may or may not want your product.

Customers may use and appreciate your product in ways you never thought of. It’s imperative to know as much as you can about your customers and potential customers. The more you know and understand what they are looking for the more you can sell to them. And not just that, but the more you can provide them with valuable solutions that meet their needs and enhance their lives.

If you want to get better at meeting client needs and providing client solutions, connect with Aspirant to learn how we can help you get the CompetitivEdge!

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson

Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.