The adage is the customer is always right and yes, they are always right in that it’s their decision to buy or not to buy, BUT they might not always ‘be right’ about what they need to buy.
Let me explain by way of a trowel...
**disclaimer** I do not pretend to be green fingered (or thumbed depending where you live) and so please ignore the lack of gardening know how in this story.
You run a garden centre (let’s imagine).
You have a customer who shows up insisting that they want to buy a trowel.
Now you could: a) sell the customer a trowel making the assumption that the customer is always right... OR b) ask the customer some questions about their plans for their garden to see if it’s a trowel that they actually need.
In this example, a few questions might establish that the client was new to all things gardening and while they thought they wanted a trowel to ‘dig up a few weeds and plant some new things’ what they might need is anything and everything from a complete garden overhaul–working out the soil type and direction their garden faced to guide a planting plan–to designing the entire plot and bringing in some landscapers. It might be you could advise them on some plants or other equipment they might need. On the off-chance that all they literally do need just a trowel as their current one has broken (and sometimes, of course, it will be the case that they do actually need only what they are asking for) for the sake of a few questions you’d be none the wiser.
And think how loyal and of higher value a customer is going to be if you actually take time to ask them what their plans are and make recommendations accordingly.
When I have an enquiry, I very rarely take it at ‘face value’ that people know what they need–I always questions and find out for myself. I can count on one hand the times when someone who has said already has their Thing sorted really does have it sorted (in all the ways I take that to mean ‘sorted’). SO I ask. And you should ask too.
Because while I’d definitely agree that often the customer can be ‘in the right ballpark’ or at the very least ‘facing in the right direction’, they are often not right right. But that’s a good thing as then you can help them ‘get it right’ with your Thing.
Sometimes a trowel is so much more than a trowel...
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