Thinking About What the Customer Really Wants. And Delivering!

Thinking About What the Customer Really Wants. And Delivering!

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Sales thinking.
Service thinking.
Business thinking.

You have opportunities to think about your business growth and your sales growth every day.

The big questions are:

  • How and when do you do it?
  • And once you’ve arrived at your thought, or your idea, or your response, how do you deliver it?
  • Or better stated, who is the message in terms of?

Everyone will tell you to, “think things all the way through.” But not many are able to teach that methodology effectively, UNLESS they think: OUTCOME. And UNLESS they think: CUSTOMER.

That’s the secret – DON’T just “think it through.” Think it through to the desired outcome that the customer wants or the customer is hoping for. What happens after delivery?

EXAMPLE: Customers call with what you perceive is a simple problem. Not me. I have found that what most people consider a problem – I look at as a symptom.

Think of it as: applied thinking.

Here’s a real-world scenario that happens in every business, hundreds of times a day:

  1. Someone calls and presents you with a complaint, a problem, a question, a service call, an order, an opportunity, or even an idea.
  2. You pause – and take the time to THINK! You may think to yourself, or think in writing, or think out loud, or think about the situation, or think about the resolve, or some combination of these scenarios. In short, you try your best – using your experience, combined with your corporate rules, prices, and policies to think it all the way out.
    • INSIGHT: Rarely do you think about the outcome of the call. What happens AFTER the issue is resolved, the answer is delivered, the sale is made, or the item delivered.
  3. Now it’s time to respond, help – or even try to resolve. You present your reaction, offer your help, your suggestions, your knowledge, your ideas, your solutions, and your thoughts.

3.5 The questions are:

  • Who is this in terms of, and what are the motives and expectations of the customer?
  • Who have you thought and responded in terms of? Is it, “what we can do.” Or is it, “Here’s what we can do to get you what you really wanted, and here’s what will happen AFTER that.”

The object of thinking is to flesh the idea all the way out from the beginning of the opportunity, to the outcome, to the solution all the way out to the end – IN TERMS OF WHAT THE CUSTOMER REALLY NEEDS AND WANTS. (They don’t want a drill – they need a hole.)

Here’s how to think it through to a win for everyone:

  • Listen to the situation.
  • Discover the immediate opportunity.
  • Discover the symptom and the problem.
  • Communicate the action.
  • Reassure the customer you know what they REALLY want.
  • Look for a long-term opportunity.
  • Create an add-on idea or tailor a personal experience.
  • WOW! them with something as simple as friendly or manners

Here’s a real world THINK! example:
Let’s say you’re in the lawn sprinkler business. Your customer calls and says, “My sprinkler is broken, I need it fixed.” If you think: Service call, go fix the sprinkler – you’re thinking wrong. You should think: this is not a problem this a symptom. What the customer REALLY wants a green lawn. AHA!

To get that green lawn you have to fix their sprinkler. HERE’S THE OPPORTUNITY – fix the sprinkler, and give them a bag of fertilizer branded with your company’s name to help them achieve what they want: A green lawn. (If at all possible, capitalize your opportunity by branding your WOW!)

NOTE WELL: It’s not what’s wrong, it’s what they want. THEIR desired outcome. If you just fix the sprinkler, you get a thank you.

Just fix what’s wrong, and you get nothing. If you help them get what they want,
and add a WOW!, you will earn a referral, and word-of-mouth advertising.

As you think things through, ask yourself: why do they want a green lawn?
Pride, show off, be the envy of the neighborhood, provide a place for the kids to play, garden? Discover these answers, document them in a customer file, and now you can get from WOW! to relationship.

Here’s another example:
Ever make an airline reservation? Do the airlines know your problem? Your desired outcome? NO. They make you a reservation, and hang up. EXCEPT ONE AIRLINE. Virgin Atlantic Airlines. When you fly upper class, they ask you where you’re going when you LAND. People don’t want to fly, they want to land. And when they land, they gotta go someplace, and VIRGIN arranges transportation to your destination as part of their fare. WOW!

THINK! about the ten prime reasons customers call you, and figure out the symptom, the problem, the customer’s desired outcome, and discover opportunity to WOW! Then ACT!


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