A Fast Company magazine article on understanding what customers will buy brought out the most basic human factors that affect why people will spend money. Consumers will buy a product or a service to ease pain or in search of pleasure. If you have a nasty headache, you”ll rush to buy aspirin or another pain reliever in a heartbeat. Why” Because aspirin will relieve the pain and provide a more pleasant experience. If you scrape a knee, you quickly clean the wound, slather on something that numbs the pain and then apply a bandage to protect the area while it heals.
Of course, you will buy all the necessary medical supplies to take away the pain. Pain will always be a call to action, even more than the fulfilling a need for pleasure. For most people, pleasure is an important issue once other, more painful needs have been met.
What Is Your Customers Pain?
Pain points can often be easily identified as pressures on the customer, from either a business or a personal perspective. Think about these types of pressure and how you might be the savior who provides a solution that relieves that pressure:
Time : less time at work, more time with family; accomplish more in less time; more time for social life; better use of time
Social : keep up with the Joneses; better home, fancier car, better education, more status symbols
Work : get work done faster or more efficiently; better, cheaper, faster; better than competitors; move up the corporate ladder; improve productivity
How Do You Identify Your Customer’s Pain Points?
If you don’t know what issues your clients and potential clients face, how will you know if you can be their solution” Not everyone offering the same products or services to customers will be a good fit for solving their particular needs. Here are a few ways to find out what kind of pain a client may be facing:
Ask them : Yes, it’s that simple. “What can I/we do to make your life easier or better?” Work on a few basic questions like this. Pick up the phone, call them, buy them coffee and talk about it. Even Walmart reached out and asked children to select their favorite toys for Walmart’s Christmas 2013 offerings.
Listen to them : Often clients aren’t really clear on what their pain points are. What they think is their main problem may well be just a symptom of something entirely different. It’s up to you to ask questions and listen to their answers to uncover what they really need to solve their problem and ease their pain.
Ask for feedback : When you have completed a project or completed a sale, ask for feedback. Develop a simple feedback form in either printed format or on-line for clients to complete. This can actually happen before, during or after they have used your products or services. Online surveys and your social media platforms are also great ways to gather customer feedback.
Observe : Pain points can often reveal themselves when customers aren”t paying attention. Keeping your eyes open for issues that need solutions can pay off.
How Can You Relieve Your Client’s Or Customer’s Pain?
There are several steps to solving a problem or identifying a need experienced by your customers. First, determine what their problems or needs might be. Ask questions. Put yourself in their shoes and look at their life through their eyes. Then, look at the products and services you provide. If you don’t see a match of their problems and your solutions, odds are you aren”t offering the right products or services, or you aren”t reaching the right customer base for what you have to offer.
If you are not meeting a need or solving a problem for customers, they won’t be calling you. If your existing products and services aren’t adding some level of pleasure or status to their business or personal lives, they won’t be calling you either. Find the pain points that clients have are offer solutions they are interested in and are willing to pay for, and you have arrived at a strategic pinnacle from which to prepare your marketing plans.
This article first appeared on Maurer Consulting Group”s “Designing Strategies” Blog on October 13, 2013, and was published here with their permission. If you would like to provide feedback to them on this article or access more articles related to business strategies for the design industry, visit maurerconsultinggroup.com/blog. You’ll be glad you did.