How much easier would it be to sell stuff to your customers if you knew exactly what they wanted to buy?
This would certainly be a good way to make more money from your food business on or off line.
It would be like “shooting fish in a barrel” — this expression sounds like it was written by a bunch of drunk dudes, late at night on a fishing trip. It sounds like a good way to get hit by stray bullets bouncing off fish that you somehow caught, then placed in a barrel, then decided you needed to shoot… Clearly an idea that only makes sense if you’re completely off your face.
But it certainly would be easy, which is what you want.
Ask your customers WHAT THEY WANT, MAKE THAT and SELL IT TO THEM.
The easiest way to do this is to ask them questions.
GET ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS LIKE:
- What do they like about your service or product?
- What’s annoys them about your service or product?
- What problems are they having that your service/product could solve for them?
- What would make their experience better?
- What other products would they like you to offer?
- What information is missing that would make it easier for them to use your product?
- What do you want to see more of on my blog?
Try to ask open ended questions as opposed to close ended questions with “Yes” or “No” or finite answers.
I have many ideas for what to write about in this blog, but I decided to hone into what my readers really want by creating this survey.
By asking people on my mailing list and in my target audience: what they are struggling with? I can craft blog posts that will help them solve specific problems they’re having.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?
Before you decide what to ask them, make sure your staff and/or you are clear about what you want to know.
- What are we hoping to gain as a result of asking these questions?
- What will we do with the responses?
- How will their answers lead to making more money in my food business?
Then, make sure your questions are tailored so you get answers that support the results you want.
In the old days, food businesses did this by serving feedback cards with the check.
Now technology allows us to do this easily.
Five Ways To Find Out What Your Customers Want and Need
Ask Them: In a brick and mortar business, you can ask them in person. This is in the moment which is a great way to get the answers you want, but the answers can be hard to keep track of unless you have a system to collect the responses. Still it’s highly effective because the person is present and they will usually answer a question or two.
ACTION: Create a series of questions and share them with your staff. Ask one or two of them to your customers while they are in your store. Keep track of the answers.
Survey Them: You can use a company like Survey Monkey to create and send a series of questions in a survey. They have pre-crafted questions you can use straight away or just use as inspiration for your own questions. It’s free for up to ten questions.
You can see the results, but you have to upgrade to a paid version to print and share the results. I get around this by taking screen shots of the results.
Wufoo is a web service that allows you to create online forms for any reason. It has a basic free option.
Google Docs has a form creation feature too that’s always free, but the responses come in a spreadsheet and not in a report like the other two.
In addition to these, there are many ways to make a survey, but the trick is not to get bogged down choosing which one. Choose a method, see how it goes and switch if you don’t like it.
You can embed your survey or form links in emails, newsletters and social media posts.
ACTION: Make a survey or form and share it with your readers and followers. Put it in a blog post like I did.
Email Them: Keep it simple. Write a short email asking if they would like to answer a short survey and embed the link to the survey or form in the email. You could just send them the survey questions in the email, but then you have to read each email to get the answers and keep track of the answers manually which is a lot more work.
ACTION: Craft a short email asking your customers to complete the survey. Preface the request by thanking your customers or, if you have time, send individual emails where you recall a specific instance with the customer. This is the most effective way to do this, but it’s time consuming.
You could sweeten the deal by offering a discount or a bonus to anyone who completes the survey or form.
Social Media Ask: You can post links to your survey/form to the people who follow you and your food business on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Linked In, etc.
You can post it to Linked In, Facebook, Yahoo groups and more in your target market.
I’m always surprised that people opening restaurants in my neighborhood don’t ask what the people who are in the neighborhood group on Yahoo what kind of restaurant they’d like. That’s why we have six Japanese restaurants within five blocks of each other and four Thai restaurants within a four block square.
How much more successful would your food business be if you were catering to what the people in the neighborhood actually wanted?
ACTION: If you have not already done so, figure out where your target market gathers on the internet and join the “conversation” there.
In addition to your survey, develop a strong question or opening statement to use a headline or subject line in your posts on social media platforms. Create a few 140 character Twitter posts related to your survey. Post periodically or schedule the posts ahead of time with a social media management tool to make it easier.
Ask Via Feedback Cards/Suggestion Box: Go old school. I still see feedback cards in restaurants. I’ve even filled in a few lately so this old school method still works. You can also put a suggestion box out if that’s what works for your business. You could tie this to a coupon or discount so customers get an incentive for their efforts.
ACTION: Design feedback cards with questions or a suggestion box that asks a compelling question. Think about ways to entice customers to give their feedback like The Most Valuable Feedback will going into a drawing to win a ________.
Whatever method you use to find out what your customers want and need, do it. You will find that catering directly to them will make it easy for them to buy from you… As “easy” as shooting fish in a barrel, but a lot more sensible…