What Other Problems Do Your Customers Have?

In the wine department of the Hollywood West Fred Meyer store is a device that looks kind of like a clothes hamper full of slowly circulating ice water. A sign on the device says,

“Free Chilling Service — 25 Times Faster Than a Refrigerator”

You just put the bottle in the water and come back in a little while. 3 minutes for “cool”, 5 minutes for “cold”, 7 minutes for “ice cold”.

Somebody at Fred Meyer realized that for some of their shoppers, a good wine selection solves one problem — what to serve at the party — but leaves another potential issue — the guests are arriving in less than an hour and the white wine’s warm.

By offering to solve this second problem at no extra charge, Fred Meyer’s positioned itself as the first option for this segment of customers.

We’re all in the problem-solving business.

  • People with transportation problems go to car dealers.
  • Homeowners who need to find a buyer hire a real estate agent.
  • People who believe they look old or unattractive go to a clinic for botox or lipodissolve.

In many cases your customers are consciously aware of the primary problem they need to solve, but may need to address other issues as well.

Sometimes these issues are a barrier to doing business. The Red Cross, recognizing that many people feel they’re too busy to give blood in December, recently announced a program called “You Give, We Wrap.” Donors bring their holiday gifts to the center, and Red Cross volunteers will wrap the packages while the donors are giving blood.

Sometimes these secondary problems can even be an opportunity for extra profit. When you buy a gift from Amazon.com, they’re happy to wrap it — for an additional $3.99 per package.

Whether you’re trying to generate extra revenue or just position yourself as the first choice for your clients, it makes sense to ask — what other problems can I solve?


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