During my 20 year tenure working in corporate management, many times I found myself as a product manager. As Wikipedia states, a product manager investigates, selects, and develops products for an organization. That’s what I did.
As a product manager, you have a number of constituencies to sell to — it’s not only the end user 0r customer, but also the account executive or salesperson. They add the ‘voice’ to your product and either make it grow or die.
After many months on the job, I saw a subtle, yet clear reality began to emerge. There were three distinct groups of people who were my ‘audience’ – people who instantly got it, people who were on their way to getting it, and people who were obstacles. Let me explain:
The ‘Get-It’ Crowd
These are the ‘platinum’ members to your club. When you present your product to them, they instantly ‘get it’ and want to sell it to other people. They see the inherent qualities of your product, they understand how it works, and they quickly incorporate it into their product line.
What to do: Keep these people close, shower them with affection and acknowledgement, and ensure you listen to them. They will give you critical information about the reality of your product. You can then modify it as needed to make it sell even faster.
The ‘Almost-On-Board’ Crowd
These are the people who are on the fence. Why? Usually because of a few reasons:
- They are always unsure of new products.
- They need to be sold.
- They need more information.
- They are not focused yet – they just need to focus on your product.
The ‘Negative’ Crowd
These are the people who will NEVER get it. Either they are obstinate and will never embrace your product or they feel they have the right mix of products for their client base. In either case, you not only have an uphill battle to wage, you’re fighting on Mt. Everest.
What to do: Honestly — don’t waste your time with these people. You have enough blood, sweat and tears to expend on the other two groups. I know it’s harsh and there is the group of salespeople who say “You never know . . . ” — but in the end, even if you convert one person from this group, you could’ve converted 5-10 in the ‘Almost-On-Board’ crowd. Cut your losses and don’t bother.
If you use these three strategies effectively, you’ll find it so much easier (and faster) to get your products to market and in front of the people that matter — your customers.