Susie has always worn sensible lipstick. She stops in to pick up another tube, and you introduce her to a fire-engine red she never would have picked up herself.
Tom just got a smartphone and barely knows how to use it. With a few taps, your app lets him start a family chat thread his kids are eager to use. Now he’s downloading emoji packs, customizing backgrounds, texting with friends abroad and in the US.
Jake is graduating from IKEA and is finally buying his first piece of forever furniture. He was intimidated to walk into your store, but you made him feel welcome, like he’s the kind of person who could own an Eames chair.
In all these cases, the customer took a risk with you.
They didn’t know if it would work–if it was smarter to stick with their usual option. Deviating might lead to frustration and regret, and they’d have no one to blame but themselves.
When a customer takes a risk with you and it works, though, you both grow closer.
You reached your hand out and they grabbed it. It’s risky because maybe Susie hates the lipstick. But the upside is this: if she didn’t see herself as the kind of person who’s bold enough to wear bright lipstick, and you showed her she could, you’ve changed her.
Everyone else is doing the same thing, selling people exactly what they say they want. Once in a while, give people something they didn’t ask for. Give them something they’re a little afraid of–and be there with them to make it safe.