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What does your customer want? Ask the right questions

Meet Mario Barth, one of the most famous tattoo artists with an impressive clientele that includes names like Sylvester Stallone, Avril Lavigne, and Usher. If you are interested in getting a tattoo from Mario, you will have to wait for more than 18 months and pay up to $4,000 for a medium-sized tattoo.

How did he achieve this status and what makes him so special? In his own words, the key to his success lies in “the ability to get in the client’s head and understand the vision that they have”.

Here’s what he thinks about his forte:

Mario Barth“What’s always been the biggest difference for me is I have no emotional attachment to my tattoos, tattoos mean nothing to me. What means something to me is that I hit the image so perfect and the emotional satisfaction of my client looking at the tattoo. That’s my trigger. That’s the true artistry. Remove your emotions and try to think what they think and see what they see.”

For an artist to say that his creations mean nothing certainly requires some confidence, but that’s exactly what makes him unique.

The reason why he is successful is because he doesn’t assume, but instead asks. Finding out the actual needs of your clients is a way to make them feel acknowledged and happy with your service and the products they buy. Many businesses, however, lack such approach and offer only what they think is best for their customers.

What businesses think

Just like artists, manufacturers, retailers or service providers are often biased towards their own products, rendering customers incapable of deciding if it’s really something they want or not. They often brag about their products, their specifications and special offers, while totally missing what shoppers really want and want to to know.

What tops the list of reasons for new business failures, according to Forbes, is the failure to establish a friendly rapport with customers, and not providing a deep dialogue. Surprising as it may seem, numerous shops continue like this, thus operating more like a warehouse of products than a friendly corner shop with helpful advice and lots of return customers.

Quotes about customers

To partly address this problem, individual sellers who realize the importance of conversations listen to customers in a number of ways, such as through consumer market surveys, social media or keyword research to get an idea of the demand, competition, and what people are searching for.

What customers want

All of these methods are good for gathering information, but you can still fall prey to the perception gap and fail to cater to the actual needs of individual shoppers. Clients want to feel cared about. They expect personalized services and want to buy products that meet their specific needs.

You can’t simply force your product or service on your customers nowadays. They don’t enter your stores out of a need to buy a product. They’re usually there to solve a problem or make their lives easier.

The more questions you ask, the more will you be able to understand that customer and serve them better.

Below you can check out examples of how brands and retailers try to understand what their shoppers want by asking the right questions.


These companies already understand that asking the right questions leads to successful product discovery and smarter as well as more satisfying purchase decisions.


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