How many times have you been offered a product that you didn’t really need?
You were promised a solution to improve your health and fitness with that shiny new gadget, only to realise that you’re in the same place where you started. Just that your bank account is a few hundred or thousand dollars closer to zero.
I’m pretty sure you saw that snazzy new to-do app that touted itself as the pinnacle of productivity. You downloaded it across your devices, synced them all. A few days go by, and you realise that your to-dos continue to pile and shame Mount Everest.
There are many similar businesses/ products/ solutions out there that need not exist. The world would do better without them. They’re built on the premise to make you and your lives better, a snake oil prescription of sorts. In the short run, this rakes in the moolah. But in the long run, having such a product offering is a sure shot prescription for failure.
In our business, I see many customers coming to us with new products or older designs that need improvement. Many a time, I realise they do not need a product in the first place. They can do perfectly well without it. In certain other cases, a cheaper alternative will do just fine.
When I tell my customers they don’t need a product or they can use a cheaper one, it curtails our business in the short term. But in the long term grand scheme of things, it opens more doors for us. It increases the trust customers have in us. It has helped us in two ways:
- When people (at our customer’s place) transition to another company, they bring new business to us because they’re sure we won’t rip them off. They also spread our principles to other customers out there acting as a natural marketing channel for us – and a very efficient one. A happy customer is your best marketer.
- Existing customers come to us repeatedly because they know we’re in it for the long game and will not rip them off either.
This small decision to say “you don’t need this product” goes a long way in building trust with your customers. In business, trust is the most valuable currency you can have. The more decentralised this currency is about your brand and/or product, the better it is for you in the long run.
Lesson 101 of any business: You exist to serve customers and not the other way around. You cannot peddle products to your customers just because you exist. If your customers do not need you, then there is no need for you or your product. You’re there to solve a problem. Not to create one and then offer a solution. Because the day the customer discerns the truth, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before they do, it’ll be your end.