That’s good. It will make you a way better entrepreneur. Here’s how.
You’re only human. You pour your soul and money (and maybe investors’ money) into developing a fabulous gadget or app that uses eye-popping technology—but customers don’t seem enthused. In fact, with all due respect, they don’t give a flip. No matter how clever your brainchild, they only care about what it will do for them, not how it works.
Lucky for you: it will increase your chance of success. Eyes on the prize!
When you’re immersed in making your product do what you want it to do, it’s tough to claw your way back to open air and see things from your customer’s vantage. Yet it’s the only point of view that will really grab people, hook their interest and sell your product.
It’s crucial to see things the way other people do, so you can do a terrific job of showing them how your product will enhance their life, or business, or their golden retriever. Whatever.
How do you accomplish it? Get people really juiced about what you’re doing, and offering them? Here are a couple of tips.
Avoid featurespeak. Do you compulsively babble to customers about how fast it goes, how much it holds, how big (or small) it is, how great it looks or how incredibly advanced its technology may be? Then you’re not communicating what customers want to know and need to hear.
Let’s say you’ve developed hair clippers that use high-frequency sound waves to shear hair more quickly and cleanly than the sharpest blade. You are totally in love with your invention. All you can talk about are cycles per second and acoustic wave amplification. Hipsters will buy your tech gadget for the cool factor, but you won’t begin to reach your true market potential on that alone.
While bladeless hair clippers may be far-fetched, featurespeak isn’t. For decades, Microsoft and PC makers were notorious featurespeakers, talking mainly about ‘feeds and speeds’ while Apple ate their lunch in branding and marketing.
Given bladeless clippers, what would people care about? Masterful marketers seek out benefits rather than features, but benefits come in layers. You may need to peel the onion.
Go for ultimate emotions. For moms and dads, an immediate benefit to hypersonic clippers would be safety: protecting their wriggling tyke from nicks and cuts during a hotly contested haircut. So, it’s about parental love and protection, a raw and basic emotion. Touch that nerve, and ka-ching.
Millions of women hate red bumps and irritated skin when they shave their legs and other places. At last, here’s a goof-proof way to precision trim without scraping sharp metal on smooth, soft skin. Guys will go for a smooth shave, too. Now peel the onion further. Above all, great skin is about attractiveness. Therefore it’s about being accepted, liked and loved by, well, whomever you want to be loved by. Ka-ching.
Dodging razor rash has another big benefit: a smooth shave leaves your skin not just better looking but more comfortable. When you’re feeling uncomfortable, it distracts you, perhaps even diminishes your confidence. You can’t project your personal power. That may be true both in social settings and business meetings. And there we have it, another compelling human driver: power.
So from a geeky hair gadget, we get parental protection; attractiveness and love; and confidence and personal power.
So drop your featurespeak. The conversation with customers is not about your awesome product. And don’t focus so much on immediate benefits, but ultimate emotions. People will care.
And when you make your first million, remember how you got there!