Give the customer what they want

Give the customer what they want was the rule. Now it’s about selling the customer what you have, which is a backwards approach, one that is most likely to yield unhappiness on both ends.

If they call to cancel service, and the sales rep offers instead to get them set up, that’s severing the connection. Doing what was asked is easy and forges good relations, but offering to sell when the customer wants to go, that’s cutting off the head.

Selling the customer what you have regardless of their need will result in customer dissatisfaction. Even if they walk away seemingly happy, they paid for something they did not want, and that realization will sink in on the way home. You lose because you sold them something that makes them lose, the thing they didn’t want. It sours the relationship you worked so hard to build.

The time-honored practice of referring the customer on to someone who can better serve their needs is the smart play. You come out the hero, the one they will call what they need what you have. That’s smart marketing.

The question is, if you’re pushing so hard to make the sale that you’re willing to lose the customer for the long term, why should the customer trust you in the first place? The short-sighted sale undermines your long-term prospects.

People want to know they can come back later, and you want to be there later. The answer is to give the customer what they want. Someone else will want what you have now.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

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