Tacky plastic

Some thoughts for the upcoming holiday season.

A few years ago my wife and I bought my son a beautiful, wooden, ecologically friendly, made-in-Thailand-from-recycled-materials airport set.

Guess who they’re selling that product to?  Me.

Guess who never played with it?  My son.

It took us a while to admit that our kids want the big, tacky, plastic toy with the characters they recognize.  As a parent I get to choose how much I want to try to change this, but my starting point had been getting them what I wanted them to want instead of what they wanted.

How often do we do this with our customers?  Any person who is successful at building relationships, at selling, at partnership will tell you that the key is “good listening.”  The word “listening” causes confusion because (especially to someone who’s not a good listener) it sounds like it’s talking about the literal act of what the person is saying.  To me, “good listening” means consistently hearing what the person is actually saying (irrespective of the words being said).

My kids were saying they wanted Disney or Star Wars stuff with lights and sounds.  Your customers might be saying that they want something other than what you hope they want or think they need.

What are your customers saying?

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