Create Customers

Steve Marr

Management expert Peter Drucker frequently said that the purpose of any business is to create customers. As simple and accurate as this statement is, we often miss the mark.

The challenge arises when we make decisions based on what we prefer to offer versus what our customers demand. An example is “Ken” who owns a pet store that targets healthy ingredients for animals. Ken decided to carry only expensive products. I pointed out that he could easily carry less costly products that would appeal to a wider cross-section of customers and increase sales. By my perspective Ken was too narrowly focused on the product line. He could easily maintain healthy products for pets while adding some lower-cost products. He simply would not do it. In going over a number of issues about how Ken ran his business, I believed Ken was more interested in providing what he wanted to sell rather than focusing on what customers demanded. I tried to repeat that I was not suggesting that he forgo his passion for healthy pet food.  I simply wanted to show Ken how to create more customers.


Another example was “Wally” who sold refinanced mortgages. Wally thought he needed to make an appointment with the customer, go over all the details, take an hour or two to explain everything, and then ask the customer to commit to refinancing with him. I explained to Wally that his strategy may appeal to customers who want a lot of detail and have the time to hear it. However, in a day when you can click and shop online for mortgages and obtain them more quickly without leaving your home or desk, his approach might not meet every customer’s need. I suggested to Wally he embrace online mortgage technology at the same time he offered his personal service. I pointed out that many customers, including myself if I were refinancing, wouldn't want to put up with a long drawn out presentation at the customer's home. Unfortunately, Wally was more focused on how he wanted to do business than how to develop more customers.

The key principle here is to remain focused on your product niche while creating and developing new customers.

A common misconception of business owners is a belief that they can make customers do business the way the owner prefers rather than understanding and meeting the needs of customers. Our business needs to focus on meeting our customers’ needs and expectations rather than wanting them to meet our desires.

Scripture informs us that “Jesus said, ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.’” (Mark 4:9, NIV) Listen carefully. Understand what customers are saying. Then, apply that information in ways that directly serve the customer.  

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