Needs and Wants

Do you know what your customers want? How about what they need?

Feb. 11, 2021 by David Ellin, Chief Customer Officer and Senior Consultant, Centric Leadership Strategies

A man walks into a store and says his pants are falling down and he needs something to hold them up.

The sales associate looks at the man, takes note of his worn jeans, t-shirt, jacket, and the absence of a belt. After quickly sizing up the man’s style, the associate brings him over to the casual section and shows him the thick brown belts. “I believe this is what you’re looking for”, says the sales associate.

The man tells the associate that he doesn’t think a thick brown belt will work for him so the associate shows him the thick black belts. He says, “No, that’s not right either.”

The associate shows the man thinner casual belts and explains that these are more stylish than the thicker belts. Once again, the man shakes his head and now starts to get frustrated.

Finally, the man decides to leave the store. On his way out, he walks past the dress clothes, picks up some suspenders. He stops and says, “Wow, that’s exactly what I need.”

With a puzzled look, the sales associate says, “Sir, if I may be so bold, those suspenders don’t go with your outfit.” The man replies, “Oh, these pants aren’t falling down, I need something for my dress pants. You see, I wear dressy clothes for work every day and after losing 25 pounds, none of my dress pants stay up.”

The sales associate follows with, “Why didn’t you tell me that when you came in?” The man answered, “Why didn’t you ask?” He closed with, “By the way, I never wear belts.”

All too often, companies expend tremendous effort trying to please customers without ever asking what they need or want. Not only did the associate misread the need – the problem the man was trying to solve (holding up his dress pants), the associate never took the time to understand what he wanted (suspenders).

At Centric Leadership Strategies, we help companies clearly identify customer needs and wants, and then develop strategies for delivering great outcomes. When done correctly, you align your efforts with solving customer problems which drive retention and revenue growth.

If you’d like to learn more about identifying your customer’s needs and wants, click here and we’ll schedule a call.