Want to have a winning product? Sell what your customers are asking for. Sometimes, they will come right out and ask for the things they want — other times you have to pick up on more subtle signals.
One early example in my business came from my Solo-preneuring class. Solo-preneuring is about making money on your own terms, doing work that you love. One of the things we do in the class is an exercise where we brainstorm ways to get people to pay you to do what you love to do. Invariably, one of the things they wanted to get paid to do was shopping. We would talk about things such as writing a guide for bargain shoppers, being a personal shopper, etc. When I mentioned mystery shopping, there were two reactions. Some students had never heard of it, but wanted to know more. Others had heard of mystery shopping, but had no idea how to get started as a mystery shopper.
None of my students specifically said, “You should research mystery shopping and sell the information to us,” but I saw that there was a lot of interest. In doing some research (this was pre-Internet), I discovered that there was no information readily available.
Although I was not a mystery shopper at that time and didn’t know a lot about it yet, I saw this as an opportunity. I had no idea what a good opportunity it was. Not only has it been very profitable for me, I have been able to help thousands of customers get started in a part-time career where they can make money doing something they enjoy. And, by educating people about mystery shopping, I have helped a lot of people avoid some of the scams that call themselves mystery shopping. I estimate that I have kept at least $2 million out of the hands of the scammers—something of which I am very proud. All of this happened because I listened to my customers and acted on what they said to me.
A few important things to remember:
- Your customers will tell you what they want. Be sure you are listening. Keep a notepad handy, and write down questions asked by your customers, and products they ask for that you don’t currently provide.
- Your customers already know you, and they want to do more business with you as long as you have what they want. Show them you are responsive to their needs.
- Serving additional wants and needs of your customers can be an effective way to expand your business, but make sure your new products and services are a good fit with your business, and don’t distract you from your true mission.