Most people want to buy something tangible. Something we can look at, touch, smell, and, in our own personal way, assess whether we like it.
When we initially engage with clients, they typically have a fuzzy vision of the application they want. I think this is pretty common in most buying situations, especially when it comes to intangibles or custom services. A big part of our responsibility with clients is to help make the fuzzy vision come into focus.
So what’s our secret to accomplishing this? It isn’t really a secret at all. It’s really the way all great things are created− with a proven process that leverages experience and expertise.
Fundamentally, the surest way to create a great product is by executing a proven process. The examples are all around us. Fashion designers have their process for creating clothes. Home builders have a process for creating a home. A car manufacturer knows how it is going to design and build a car.
All processes are not the same and that’s good. There is no one way to build something great, but a company must have a proven way to build something great. A client can have confidence in your end product delivery because they have confidence in your process.
Confidence in your process has many layers. Clients want to know you care about and understand their needs. Clients also want to see that you have helped others accomplish what they are looking to accomplish. Your process combined with experience and expertise gives clients the confidence that you can bring their fuzzy vision into focus and, ultimately, the confidence to do business with you.
Of course, process has operational value as well. Process allows you to work efficiently, allocate resources as needed, engage with vendors at the right time, and a myriad of other benefits.
You likely need to execute your process in a specific way to service clients well. This could be viewed as having a proprietary process, and there isn’t anything wrong with this perspective. Your proprietary process certainly has marketing value. The steps to your process and executing them in a specific way help you align with clients, and helps them understand how you are going to deliver.
A home builder doesn’t bring in the paint contractor before the drywall is finished. A mold has to be created for something to be cast. A design has to be finalized before parts can be defined for a product made on an assembly line. These are basic examples and there are more exacting dependencies within processes, but the point is that within most processes there are key steps that allow them to move forward.
You will probably find yourself discussing and educating customers about your process during your sales discussion and delivery. Be ready and willing to discuss it. Clients are, for the most part, unaware of what it will take to bring their fuzzy vision into focus. That’s why they are engaging with you in the first place.
As you think about technology and applications for your business, I encourage you to think about the process of getting to an end product that will meet your needs as much, if not more, than you think about the end product.