Any for-profit, service-based business needs to offer services and products that clients want. Not what they need, but what they want. There is a distinct difference. Trying to sell something to someone who doesn’t want it, doesn’t work toward anyone’s benefit.
One view is looking at the client through your lens as a provider and the other through the client’s lens. You generally see what they need – they might not.
Sometimes what they need and what they want are the same. But many times, they are not. If you address what they need, rather than what they want it might not resonate. People don’t buy things they need – they buy things they want. If there is a deeper problem we can solve – awesome, but we need to meet our clients where they are. And of course, once you have the client you can work with them on whatever needs to happen.
Thankfully it does not require a lot of effort to figure out what they want.
STEP 1: FIND OUT WHY THEY COME TO YOU.
There is such a huge opportunity to be of greater service, increase our impact if we can step off the trodden pathways and design our offerings from a client perspective. It’s amazing how many business owners and providers do not know their customer profile well enough to be able to selectively target them or what problems they resolve and what aspirations they address.
We all are quick to assume and think we know what the client wants, but we rarely make the effort to check in with a statistically relevant number of clients/customers/guests to truly find out in detail what moves them to us.
One of the easiest ways to find out what clients come to you for is to ask them. What is the pressing issue that you come to us for? How do we help you solve that problem? Are there ways we could better support you to achieve an improved outcome? Do you go elsewhere to address the same challenge and what do they do to help?
When you know what people come to you for you can save yourself the effort of coming up with fancy names, or detailed process descriptions, or flamboyant specials and simply use your client’s language to describe what you offer.
“If you have tried everything to get rid rotator cuff pain but are still suffering – 90% of our clients have reported a complete recovery”. Or we “We help first-responders recover from opioid addiction”.
And then there is this bonus: When you know what your clients come for, you can design your services, products and processes to provide what they want even better and further set yourself apart from other providers while giving your clients better results. But I digress.
Knowing your client profile will give you the following benefits:
◆ Ability to precisely target them
◆ Lower cost of advertising
◆ Higher sales per contact
◆ Clients that are the perfect fit
◆ Ability to scale your business more easily
◆ Easier to grow your business
◆ Ability to stand out from the crowd
◆ Opportunity to become the “go-to” place or service
The second step is really a hack that helps find the right words for what you offer.
STEP 2: SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE
We tend to default to typical “menu speak”. Either completely technical like this:
“Massage therapy techniques release knotted or tense tissues within or adjacent to the treatment area. The tissues may lie within the muscles, tendons, ligaments or joints. You may feel an immediate sensation of release that eliminates pain and stiffness in the previously tense fibers. Troubling complications, including headaches and referred pain, also tend to disappear during the massage sessions.”
Or fantasy descriptions that lack actual benefit descriptions or solutions for the customer like this one:
“Rainbow Rain Massage – Performed under a Vichy shower, this water treatment pours warm water (the titular “rain”) over your body as you’re expertly massaged with a variety of sun-dried clays that span the color spectrum.”
Neither addresses what the client probably wants which is to get rid of some specific aches and pains. Or maybe it’s that they want to step into another world to get perspective – whatever it is, it’s certainly not clear from these descriptions what problem they solve or which of my aspirations they could address.
When you take precise note of what clients say, their emotional charge, their words, and their descriptions, you are receiving the exact wording that will allow you to communicate directly to your clients. You can take those exact words for your advertising, writing, phone calls and so on.
In a way, it’s an extension of a process called active listening which is another way of saying that you are completely present with someone. A very nice way to communicate with one another.
People hear what speaks to them. “Speaking the same language” is a used all over the place. When people hear terms they don’t understand, or references they don’t relate to, or circumstances they don’t recognize, they tune out – like we all do.
Speaking your client’s mind is a great way to:
◆ Create rapport faster
◆ Facilitate relaxation
◆ Convey pertinent information faster
◆ Capture your audience’s attention
◆ Create a sense of trust
◆ Keep the channels open
Voilà, you have the recipe for perfect service design. Help the client get what they want and more. Design your services around their aspirations. Solve the problems your clients want to solve, not the ones you want to solve. Be the solution to their problem. Be a guide for their growth.
I hope this is inspiration enough to take your understanding of who your market is and what they want to a deeper level thus creating the framework for designing services that meet the mark.
Finding out what moves our clients and using their words to describe the services we have designed for our clientele takes the guesswork out for the client, sets clear expectations, attracts the right customer and positions us as experts in solving a particular problem set and in helping our clients grow and improve their health and wellbeing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicolay H. Kreidler is an entrepreneur and strategic consultant in the health and wellness space who focuses on turning around distressed businesses and re-positioning them for success.