Love Your Products If You Want Them to Sell
We had finished analyzing the catalog’s product sales. The unit sales, revenue and square inch reports all pointed to the same conclusions.
“The big winners are those cute resin figurines,” I told the catalog’s owner. “Every time you add one, sales go up. You should add more this year. And the big loser is the expensive hand-signed pottery. Those should go.”
She wrinkled her nose. “I’ve decided to discontinue all the resin. I don’t want resin in the catalog anymore.”
“But why?” I asked. “Your customers love them.”
“They’re tacky. I’d never have them in my house. I’ve signed a contract with the pottery artist. I’m going to carry her whole line. I’ve already bought several pieces for my own home.”
“But the sales reports clearly indicate ...”
“I don’t care. Good taste is good taste.”
The above true story is surprisingly common. It’s a rare catalog owner or manager whose personal taste perfectly matches his or her customers’ taste. But the point is, that difference shouldn’t matter.
You can love a product for what makes it great for your customer. It doesn’t need to appeal to you.
To get great products, you must know what type of people comprise your customer base (it helps to respect them, too). If you don’t already know them, look at more than demographics. Read their favorite magazines and catalogs. Talk to them on the phone. Meet them in person. Then think about products from their points of view. Pretty soon you’ll find some products you really love for the way they benefit your customers. Those products are likely to sell well, too.
(By the way, the cataloger mentioned above did not take that advice. She eventually closed down her catalog.)
Presto! The Hidden Product Illusion
A colleague and I were chatting during lunch.