Monday, August 5, 2013

Early Customer interactions are very valuable

It is a hard time for entrepreneurs visiting a prospective client.Very often the entrepreneur comes back with the feeling - this guy just chewed away my time. He/She didn't give any feedback on the product, nor did he give me the purchase order! 
This is typical of the very first meeting, but over meetings the scenario changes. The entrepreneur could look at the multiple interaction with prospective clients in a different light. In these interactions, entrepreneurs are over loaded with tons of unstructured data. The entrepreneur needs to structure them to be able to figure out a common thread and focus on it - make the data into a valuable, actionable information. 
Yes, while the entrepreneur is focused on selling  the product to the prospective client, the client is really looking at what more can be got out from this product when in use. The client is looking at how the product that you intend to provide could be put to use - their focus is typically at cost reduction, scaling quicker than the competition etc - in essence overcoming an obstacle. 
Very often, we as entrepreneurs do not distance ourselves from the  product we are trying sell. The product that we go to the market could be just be a technology offering - if is important to make it a customer usable product with some "finishing touches". The Entrepreneur could leverage this wealth of information to really thinking of creating the "product" from the "technology offering" that he/she would get to the market.

As an example - you could have built a conference plat form, but the interaction with the customers keep giving you the repeated questions - Can I know where the customers come from? How much time they spend on it etc? Clearly, the customer is looking at some analytical interpretation of the technology - so adding a layer of analytics and presenting as a dash board could really make it easier to sell!

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