You should always be listening to your market and offering products and services they want. That’s common business sense. That said, sometimes you may know that what they (your market) ‘want’ is not what they ‘need’. The trick here is a to strike a balance and meet them where they are, then gently ‘steer’ them to where you know lies a better answer.
Here’s an example: as part of our business, we design and build websites for clients (I say "we", but it’s of course the Colouring-in Department that does the designing and building). Now, websites can be a HUGE minefield of form over function, and sometimes websites that ‘work better’ might not look as ‘sexy’. And there’s no point having a sexy site if it doesn’t sell for you, or work well (have solid code behind it, be connected to other systems you need, etc.). But very often, a client will share examples of what they want and they will all be sexy sites. And I agree–they are very sexy–but sometimes we need to ‘steer’ clients towards a slightly less sexy but solid sales-delivering design instead.
What we don’t do is say no to what clients ‘want’, but we help them also see what they ‘need’ and offer a combined solution. And you may need to do that too. After all, you are the expert in your Thing and it’s the reason people want to buy from you in the first place. All of us usually have an ‘idea’ of what we want to buy, but if we’re smart (and good customers!) we then listen to the experts and take their advice and are willing to adjust our thinking to buy what we really need.
Which is, of course, why it’s super important to set yourself up as an expert–demonstrate your knowledge, share your opinion, point of view, philosophy or process of why your Thing is your Thing. When you’re setting your stall out with certainty, it’s a place from where you can steer your market into a position where they arrive with what they want, and leave with what they need.
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