MOVED – What Does Your Customer Really Want?


Have you ever seen one of those pictures that looks like one thing, but as you look deeper it turns out to be something completely different?

One minute you would swear that you’re looking at an old lady. Then you suddenly see what is so clearly a bird flying over a mountain.

When we finally see the bird, we scratch our heads and say “How could I have missed that?”

Just for fun, here’s an image that can look like two things. What do you see?


What Do Customers Really Want by Charlie Page 400
What Do Customers Really Want


Selling online can be just like one of those pictures.

One of the keys to being successful online is knowing your customer.

  • Some call it targeting
  • Some call it demographics
  • Some call it psychographics
  • Some call it “deep customer insight”

No matter what you call it, what we really need to know is one thing.


One of the best ways to know what customers want is to see things from the buyers point of view.

Today I’m going to “turn the tables” and become your next customer.

As your customer, I’m going to be honest and tell you the six things you need to do in order for me to pull out the plastic and buy from you.

Before we begin let me say this from the heart.

I am not trying to be snarky here.

In fact, I’ve tried to de-snark what you will read below.

Bear in mind, this is not just my aged brain at work. These are gleaned from things customers have actually said over the last 14 years. Sometimes, it stings.

1. Get my attention

Believe it or not, I did not sign on tonight just to buy your product.

I was looking for a cheap flight to Vegas.

While I was online I was going to download this massively cool “world of flying birds that shoot arrows at dinosaurs” game I’ve been hearing about.

But I found your site and I’ve got three seconds, so take your best shot.

But be warned: I’ve got other things to do, so get to the point, okay?

2. Tell me what’s in it for me

I don’t want to be a jerk about this, but I don’t really know you. While you may be a great person, what I really care about is what’s in it for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that you started walking at 3 months old and have lost a bunch of weight, but I really want to decide whether to buy this thing or not and then get going.

So, please, tell me what I’ll get out of this deal.

By the way, I really like to save money and love great customer service too.

3. Tell me why I should buy from you

Like I said before, I’m willing to bet that you are a nice person.But a zillion people sell what you are selling too. And they say they are nice.

They say they love me, understand my needs, and will support me after I buy. In fact, the more I think about it the more you all sound alike.

So what makes you special?

I’m willing to listen, but tell me why I should buy from you.

4. Don’t forget me when I’m gone

I’m a person who needs to buy things. I’m willing to buy from you and I’ll even come back to buy again if you stay in touch and offer me what I want.

I’ll read your email if you really have something to say.

I’ll even fill out a survey or two now and then (I love to talk about myself, by the way) and I don’t mind getting an occasional email if you are offering a special deal.

And if you call me by my name, I can guarantee that I’ll buy more from you. I love all things “me.”

But when you tell me to buy it now or never, I feel pressure.

And when you treat me differently just because I have not spent money with you yet, it hurts my feelings and I look for someone else.

Maybe I can’t buy today but I can buy tomorrow. I mean, the question I have is this – If I don’t buy today, do you still want my business tomorrow?

I get that some special offers close but if that’s all you have to offer I’ll pass, thank you very much.

I’m not a “prospect” or a “hit” or a “surfer” or a “browser.” And I’m certainly not some statistic that your web guy gives you on a report once a week.

I’m a person.

Talk to me like I’m a person and I’ll listen to you.

5. Don’t try to manipulate me

Speaking of treating me like a person, I have something to say.

I don’t know about you or anyone else out there, but I hate hype. It’s exhausting, it looks stupid and it makes my eyes feel tired.

I don’t want to hear that I have to act in the next 5 seconds or else the deal is gone forever.

I’m smarter than that.

And I’m not super-crazy about the chat box popping up and wanting me to talk with a stranger right now.

It’s late and the house is quiet and I don’t need the endless pinging noises.

In this age of online everything, I’ve become a pretty savvy shopper.

Don’t treat me like I’m dumb. If you treat me like your next mark, I’ll run in the other direction – right into the arms of your competitor.

Offer me a genuinely good value and I’ll take your offers seriously.

6. Make it easy for me to buy

Your site was cool. I’m glad I stopped by.

Oh, you wanted me to buy something? Right now?

Sorry about that but I couldn’t quite tell what to do next.

When I’m busy surfing sometimes you just have to tell me straight out what you want me to do.

Wait, I remember now. I did try to buy something but you only take Visa and I only use American Express. Or PayPal.

Sorry about that.  Maybe next time.

Was anything in the narrative above interesting or thought provoking for you?

It was very thought provoking for me (even though I wrote it) and I’m going to be making changes to my sites based on these observations.

If you connected to this, it might be worth setting aside a little time on a schedule every now and then just to think about your customers’ experience while shopping (or just visiting) with you and how you can make it the best it can be.

Anticipate what your customer wants or needs, and make that happen for them. That’s the surest way to success in any industry.

Question: How does your site look to visitors? Do you think changing it will lead to increased engagement or more sales?

Leave a comment below and let’s get the conversation started.

About the author 

Charlie Page

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