The easiest way to increase your revenues in any economy is to “sell donuts to fat people.”
Here is what I mean.
When deciding what to sell and whom to sell it to, you can sell people what they need or should have, or you can sell them what they want.
The easiest way to make money is to sell people what they want… the equivalent of what I call “selling donuts to fat people.”
This lesson is especially apparent here in Silicon Valley where the landscape is littered with failed companies who created products that customers should have, probably need, but fundamentally did not want.
This always ends in disaster.
How do I know this?
Because I’ve made this mistake before and it has cost me dearly. There is a fortune that can be lost in trying to convince a customer they want something, they simply just don’t want.
It is MUCH easier to just ask customers what they want and give it to them. It is not much more complicated than that.
Too often thought, we are stuck in a very internally-centric view of our business. As in, “I’m a CPA. I am in the CPA business.” “I’m a retailer. I sell things.”
At the end of the day, customers don’t really care much about us. They just care about themselves and getting what they want taken care of.
What makes this simple principle more difficult to pull off in a recession is customers’ spending priorities often change… in some cases quite dramatically.
So if 2 years ago you were selling what customers wanted, but they no longer want it today… and if you haven’t changed along side them, then you have a serious problem.
One of the things I always tell my business coaching clients is to remember the easiest way to drive sales in any economy is to simply “sell donuts to fat people”. If your business is flexible enough to change what it provides to customers, the trick is to find the new “donut” your customers now crave.
If changing your products/services is too difficult (e.g, such as in a capital intensive business like manufacturing), then you my find it easier to find a different audience or market to serve with your pre-existing “donut”.
Either way, you gotta find a way to make this formula work. Just sell people things that the really want… even if it’s not what YOU want to sell them. In the end, the person with the money (the customer) votes. And their votes count a lot more than yours.