Last week, I was out shopping for a phone at a retailer here in the Twin Cities. As I entered the store, I was welcomed relatively quickly. Check.
I was then greeted by a salesperson warmly. Check.
The salesperson then asked me what I was looking for. I told her I was looking for a new phone—most likely an iPhone, but that many friends had told me I had to check out the new Samsung phones, so I was willing to give those a peek.
She then sent me over to another salesperson who had more experience with the Samsung phones. He almost immediately started talking about all the “cool features” this phone had.
He went on and on about it for about 15 minutes.
Not one question about how I like my current phone. Not one question about how I use my current phone. Not one question about any problems I have with my current phone. Not even a question about things I’d like to have in my next phone.
Nope, it was “all features all the time” with this guy.
The funny thing is most of the features of this particular Samsung phone were completely irrelevant to me—I didn’t want or need them.
You want to text, peruse Facebook, and watch video at the same time? This Samsung phone can do that.
My reply: “I don’t care.”
He didn’t take the hint. Instead, he prattled on about even more features I found useless.
So, I’ll ask the question: What ever happened to just solving the customer’s problem? Isn’t that what your brand’s product or service is all about? Aren’t products and services designed to meet a need someone sees in the marketplace?
It’s crazy to me how often this is overlooked. (This wasn’t the first experience like this I’ve had with a retailer in town when shopping for a phone.)
For marketers, it’s important to keep this in mind as we think about our work each day. How does the product or service our company/client is selling solve our customer’s problems?
Do you work in retail? Get out to your stores and observe real-life salesperson/customer interactions. See what kinds of questions customers are asking. See how they walk the sales floor. You’ll be amazed what kinds of ideas this will spark for you.
Work in health care? Get out to your clinics and hospitals, and walk the patient floors (as you’re able, at least). Just observe patient/doctor/nurse behaviors. Again, you’ll be surprised what you learn.
What about B2B? Go on a sales call with one of your reps. Just tell him or her you want to audit a few calls. Again, just be a fly on the wall, and observe the interaction. What kinds of questions do the customers have? What’s their body language like? How does the salesperson respond?
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Remember, we’re all in business to solve our customer’s problems. Period.
Don’t lose sight of that.
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. A version of this article originally ran on his blog, Communications Conversations.