Give Customers What They Want

From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

In this Issue:

  1. Forward
  2. How to Provide Products Your Customers Desire
  3. How to Grow Your Product with the Customer in Mind
  4. Involve Employees for more Complete Product Design
  5. Shameless Self Promotion
    How Strong Business Relationships can Reduce Costs


In today's lesson, you will discover a few strategies that help you provide more of what your customer's desire. You will increase market share while gaining a significant advantage over your competition.

One of the wonderful things about what I do is that I get to apply these strategies first hand in my own business and in those of my clients. If you have not already embraced these methods, consider what you are missing.

For example, I ask you questions that identify your challenges, concerns, and opinion of what I have to offer. This feedback helps me focus on real solutions for your business; your comments guide my actions within the scope of my expertise.

While I do not get as much feedback as I would like, I use what I hear to improve my service to you. Make the most of your interaction with me and reply to this message with a note about your biggest business relationship challenges. (All responses are private)

Warmly and sincerely,

Justin Hitt
Strategic Relations Consultant, Author & Speaker

How to Provide Products Your Customers Desire

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

The more you tailor your products or services to address specific customers desires, the less you can be compared to the competition. If you want to increase your market share while providing profitable solutions, consider the following strategies to create products your customer desires.

  1. Catalog customer concerns early in the relationship. It is important to document everything you know about why a product is appealing, even before your sales team engages a customer. The more you know about customer concerns prior to a sales opportunity, the higher your probability of a selling interaction or tailoring a product for specific customer desires.
  2. Ask customers about the solution they are willing to purchase. You will save money only developing products customers are willing to purchase. Simply stated, you should sell only what customers are buying. Focus the majority of your efforts on things customers are interested in purchasing, then create a solution specific to their needs.
  3. Weigh product improvement responses by customer value. Suggestions from unprofitable or difficult customers are not as useful as suggestions from your most profitable customers. Use a scoring system to rank suggestions against a profitability quintile, concentrate first on those improvements desired by top tier customers. You will spend less on a greater return with this strategy.
  4. Gather details about the results customers hope to achieve. Look past the product and discover what a successful outcome looks like to your customer. This allows you to modify existing products to produce the desired results customers already have in mind. By focusing on their picture of success, you will become better prepared to meet their expectations.
  5. Use groups of features to measure product usage. By looking at your products in logical units of features, you will find that some groupings that contribute to the customers desired results more than others do. These insight will help you optimize those functions that are valued, and minimize others. You may even find groups of features that are not necessary at all.
  6. Ask about what you are not providing that if you did, customers would buy. It is possible your customers want to purchase other things you have not yet offered them. It is critical to ask this question, because it will open new opportunities for product enhancements that have lower market resistance. After all, if a customer is willing to buy it, why haven't you offered it already?
  7. Eliminate features your customers do not value or use. By removing those features that do not contribute to the results customers desire, you reduce your manufacturing costs. These components can always be added back later for specific customers as a customized solution.
  8. Use the product yourself however possible. Put your company in the position of a customer by actually using your products and services. If possible, abuse your own products to test their limits and ultimately improve the results customers can produce with them.
  9. Investigate new materials or methods to produce a superior result. The construction of your product (or service) is a significant factor in its cost to deliver. Look for solutions that provide the same outcome but with materials that are stronger, cheaper, and produce better results. If you strictly provide services then optimize your procedures or how you deliver the solution.
  10. Develop products in small iterations, testing between design phases. It is better to get a functional product on the street, than to have the perfect product. Customize products for customers, as they demand it, but meanwhile offer a steady stream of improvements with each new version of your product.
  11. Give your best customers a reason to share their input. This can be as simple as a contest for the best product enhancement, beta testing opportunities, or trial product samples for customers who provide great input. Getting your customers involved with product design will improve buy-in and improve your adoption rate.
  12. Document how your customers currently use your product. When you look at how your customers are currently using what you offer, you will likely find they are using it differently than you had imagined. Variations in product usage may identify new markets, product enhancements, key selling points, or even help improve product life span.
  13. Know how your customers could be using your products. While your customers may use your product in one way, you may know of better ways to use what you offer that would improve output for the customer. Speak with those who construct or integrate your products, identify ways customer could or should be using your products. Look for alternative product usages to expand your market base.
  14. Identify gaps in knowledge that limit a customer's ability to get the most from of what you offer. Combine what you know about how customer should and could use your products. Pass this information back into your market through your marketing and training materials. Provide regular educational tools that enhance how customers use what you offer. If you improve the results customers achieve, they will be more loyal.
  15. Fix recurring problems while removing as many "bugs as possible. Work with your employees to discover defects in product design, this step can be critical to producing successful products your customers will buy. Try to make products better with ever iteration, continually solve problems for customers in design and implementation. Remember, your company is only hearing 10% of the complaints around your offering.
  16. Encourage open communications around product improvements. Make it easy for customers to learn about product improvements and encourage them to provide their comments about what you offer. Use a bulletin board system, newsletter, or other media sources to share useful tips with your current customer base. The more feedback you receive, the better your ability to serve the customer.
  17. Involve customers with product development planning. Let your customers decide what products you will produce in the future. Invite them to share details about challenges they face and give you the opportunity to solve these issues for them. This will give you a head start on your competition while improving customer loyalty.

Before you launch a new product or to revive an old one, consider these strategies to create products your customers will desire. Start with one product and you will find you can significantly improve its value to buying customers; actually increase market share buy limiting barriers to a successful sale. What are you waiting for?

© 2003-2006 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
/ product-development | grow-products /

Justin Hitt helps executives build stronger business relationships that ethically increase profits. Learn more about coaching and training programs at

Involve Employees for more Complete Product Design

Whether you offer a hard product or service, just listening to the customerís desires is not going to produce a profitable product. Often customers want solutions not practical to produce; it will take creative ingenuity to provide what customers want while keeping costs low enough to be profitable. Involve your employees in product development (especially those close to the product) and you can increase internal buy-in while gaining a commitment to quality that customers will notice. (Also available here without password until 8th November)

How to Grow Your Product with the Customer in Mind

Your customer is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to changes your products will undergo over time. Successful companies design their products with this fact in mind; they create modular products, they understand their product/customer interaction life cycle, and carefully evolve their product to provide the results customers desire. This article will introduce you to some strategies that can help you grow your product with the customer in mind.

Shameless Self Promotion:

How Strong Business Relationships can Reduce Costs

You are losing thousands of dollars in potential business if you are not already applying these strategies. Companies of your size in equally complex industries found that strong relationships with customer, employees, and strategic partners could significantly reduce costs, even in:

What would improvements in these areas be worth to your business? A powerful tool is now available to help you apply strategic relations methods that ethically build profitable business relationships.

With the subscription-based coaching services provided in Applying Strategic Relations, you start today improving any one of these areas as much as 11% over the next 3 months.

No smoke and mirrors, just practical strategies you can use today in an environment that facilitates learning for your whole team. For more information about Applying Strategic Relations visit

[Members can post questions on the discussion forum, or fax them to +1 (276) 254-8747]

# # #
Inside Strategic Relations is for Sales and Marketing Management who want to turn business relationships into profits. Members read past issues at

Thank you for passing this newsletter to your staff and associates.

Home | Featured Articles | Glossary of Terms | Subject Index | Site Map | Editorial Calendar | About us | Contact us

Center for Strategic Relations, Dept IUN,
1123 Spruce St #3123, Martinsville, VA 24115-3123

24-Hour Phone/Fax Hotline: +1 (276) 254-8747

© 2001-2023 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Sitemap.