Why Your Customers Don’t Care About What You Do

The crass adage, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat” is about innovation, right? It can’t possibly be about actually skinning cats.

Focusing on the desired outcome allows room for creativity in design and delivery.

In the early days of extraterrestrial exploration, Astronauts needed a solution that would allow them to write in space, and the story goes that the United States invented a crazy, million dollar NASA pen while the Russians simply opted for a pencil.

With that in mind, today, your customer needs some kind of outcome, whether it’s achieving growth, reducing IT costs, or improving collaboration in the workplace, and “there’s more than one way” to get there. So if you are in the process of explaining why you have the best solution, talk in terms of outcomes, not methods, for getting your customer the outcome they need.

Show your customer how you will make their lives better.

Another reason to not focus on how the sausage is made, as it were, is that if you are focusing on how you do what you do, then maybe it isn't exceptional. The natural question that should follow you talking about how you do something is “So what?” “What does that have to do with me?” "Why do I care?"

For example, if you provide cloud services, so what? Why do I need a hybrid cloud infrastructure? Reduced IT costs, scalability, and agility in bringing new applications into the the work place sounds very appealing to the business. That’s what it does. That’s something they can get behind. That's what they care about.

Don’t outsmart yourself.

The hover board of yesterday, the Segway, is brilliant from a technical standpoint. What was less brilliant was spending $100 million for what ended up being a goofy, futuristic scooter for mall cops and international tourists.

The pitch about how fantastic the technology was did not matter when the Segway entered the market. It flopped. Hard. So hard, in fact, that it made Time Magazine’s Top 10 Biggest Tech Failure of the Last Decade.

The lesson here is that if you are excited about the technology and not the benefit it will (or won’t) provide your customer, you are probably about to segue into a world of hurt.

Ultimately, the key is to focus on the outcomes in designing and selling your product, and avoid the mistake of letting your “how we do it” outshine the “what we do.”


About the Author

James Moscariello is a US Navy veteran with over a decade of experience leading Fortune 500 companies on IT and cultural transformations.