Global Fastener News

1997 FIN – Sonnenberg: Identify Your Customers’ Needs vs. Wants

February 29
00:00 2012

May 30, 1997 FIN – Your customers are going to tell you what they want. Your job is to determine through dialog what they need, Brian Sonnenberg told the Western Fastener Distributors Association spring meeting in Hawaii.

“Listen to what they need,” the president of Portland Bolt said. “Never assume you know their needs.”

Some customers may talk “QPS” (quality, price & service), but what they are really saying is “OCN” (okay, cheap & now).

Fastener suppliers must differentiate between needs and wants by creating a dialog with customers. “They are going to tell you what they want,” Sonnenberg said. “You have to determine what they need.”

Price buyers tend not to be the smartest people and short-term customers, Sonnenberg said.

Look at the customers needs and how they relate to your needs. The best customer/supplier relationships “must fulfill needs both ways” and not act independent of each other.

Sonnenberg’s list of customers needs:

Supplier who is ethical, honest and a good member of the business community.
Supplier who reinvests in the industry
Supplier who can differentiate between price and cost. “You have to be able to tangibly demonstrate the difference,” Sonnenberg added.
Supplier who understands that profit is not a dirty word.
Supplier who is as committed and passionate to the customer’s success as its own,
Supplier who is a problem solver rather than a problem creator.
Supplier who is a good company with good people. “You can tell a lot about a company through its people,” Sonnenberg said.
Supplier who becomes a part of the customer’s business.
Supplier who views the product as significant. ©1986/2012 Fastener Industry News

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Related Links:

• Portland Bolt

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