Ask your customers what they want

BusinessSales / Service

  • Author Kate Marsden
  • Published June 5, 2013
  • Word count 499

Looking for a way to make some more profits from your business? You already have a huge advantage – your existing customers – to help you find out what people want.

Many businesses know what their customers think of their services (although many don’t even get that bit right, but that’s another story!), but very few actually ask them what other products or services they would like to see.

It’s such a basic question, yet very few companies do it. If that’s you, ask yourself why not:

• Worried that they won’t give you an answer? That’s fine, that’s their decision – but actually many will give you some feedback, if nothing else at least they’ll know you are interested in them and you will definitely get more information than if you don’t even ask.

• Worried that they are not happy enough about your current products and services? Be honest with yourself. If that’s really what’s stopping you, you need to sort things out and quickly. No one has an automatic right to someone’s business and if you think what you are offering is not up to standard then change it. But actually maybe you should still ask these customers the question – you might be pleasantly surprised and if not you’ll get some valuable feedback.

• Don’t want to be too pushy? People are sold to all the time and yes they get fed up with it. But these are people who have already spent money with you and all you are asking is what other products and services they would like you to offer. Surely it is better to get some feedback from them and build your order list rather than going off on your own and then trying to sell to them?

• Think you might not be able to give them what they want? OK, you might get a list of great ideas that you have no idea how to deliver. But you will also know what your customers are prepared to spend money on and that they think you could deliver. If the worst comes to the worst, go and find yourself a partner who can deliver so you can meet your customer needs.

Whatever is stopping you, a simple conversation can give you all sorts of useful insight into your customer preferences and what they might buy, and can save you a huge amount of time on the wrong things!

It doesn’t have to be complicated – if you only have a small number of customers then just pick up the phone and ask. Failing that, there are lots of online tools that let you set up free questionnaires, such as Survey Monkey, Ask Database, Zoomerang. Make it simple – a few questions only will get you far more responses and more targeted feedback.

So, take action NOW – this week, send a survey to your customers asking what other products or services they want you to offer.

Kate Marsden is the founder of The Profit Mechanic ( – dedicated to giving Small Business Owners the tools, input and resources they need to succeed in the most important thing in their business – increasing profit. Kate has more than 20 years business experience, including as Director for a number of well known organisations and as owner of her own businesses.

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