Why Do They Want?

A man owned an umbrella cart on a busy street. Though this was a city where it rained almost every day, in a week he had not sold a single one.

One day a woman stopped at his cart and looked interested. Excited, the man immediately began showing off his finest umbrellas. They were big and small. They opened at the press of a button and were guaranteed not to turn inside out in the wind.

The woman shrugged her shoulders and started walking away. “Wait!” he shouted. “These are the best umbrellas anywhere. Why won’t you buy one?”

“Well, it’s silly,” the woman said. “All my daughter wants in the world is a yellow polka dot umbrella.”

Then the man smiled, reached into the back of his cart and pulled out a small, yellow spotted umbrella. Delighted, the woman exchanged a large bill for it and told him to keep the change.

The vendor’s mistake was obvious: he didn’t ask questions! Desperate to make a sale, he almost didn’t because he thought he was providing all the right answers.

Business owners often do the same thing with their websites. It’s easy to look at our products through our own eyes and describe them only in ways that appeal to us.

What’s the moral of this story?

Lesson #1: Gather data. Ask your customers what they like about your products so you know how to appeal to others like them.

Lesson #2: Be thorough. Include details in your product descriptions you couldn’t care less about. Someone does.

Lesson #3: Stay humble. The detail that sets your product apart might not be what you’re most proud of. It’s not about your pride. It’s about what your customer needs.

Now go sell some yellow polka dot umbrellas.

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