Next week, two of my nephews have birthdays. They live in Kentucky, so we do not get to see them too often. That makes me want to get them something special, while at the same time, I do not really have a lot of insight into their current interests or wants.
What should I do to get them a great gift? Get them something that I think is cool or ask them (or my brother)? This is the same situation that we run into with clients or prospects. We can try to surprise them with something they may not have thought about, or we can ask what they want.
There is no right answer to this, you just need to be conscious of what you are doing. For example, innovative products or services that a client may never have thought about require a certain amount of “surprise.” However, the types of clients you may have thought would want it may not be interested. You have to be willing to find the right clients for what you are offering.
On the other hand, if you have a type of client you want to serve, it is a good idea to ask them what they want. Then, you should listen closely to what they are saying and not saying. Ask questions to get deeper into why they want a particular solution and how that will help their business in a larger sense. That can be where the combination of what they want and the right amount of surprise can make your solution stand out.
In case you were wondering, I sent an email to my brother earlier today asking what they might want. However, I will certainly look for ways to add a bit of surprise when selecting their gifts :)