Why We Productize

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

Most small businesses owners and entrepreneurs would share the statement that the customer knows best, but do we really feel that way?  If you were to ask me this question I would say the customer knows a few things best but certainly not all.  A statement like this may sound arrogant but I assure you it certainly is not.  

Do you know what questions Thomas Ford asked his customers prior to the creation of  the Model T in 1908 which went down as the most sold car for 40 years? … Nothing,  he asked absolutely nobody a thing.  At the time there were no customers to ask and his resolution for buggy riders to not have to look down the horse’s backside was not created yet.  It was his vision and his alone that would be a solution for generations to come.

I can tell when my car isn’t driving the way it should.  There has even been times I was spot on with my clever deductions by determining that it was the brakes etc.  However; my execution of how to resolve the issue and my mechanics would be very different.  Would it be fair for me to assume that since I am his customer that my solution would be correct?  The customer is always right, no?

The customer is always right, no?

Let’s look at the position of the client is always right scenario from the eyes of the service personnel whether he/she is a lawyer, mechanic, web developer, etc.  Could we possibly say let’s forget the years education, training, experience, and studying that was placed into one’s craft?  My answer is heck, no!

So what is the customer right about?

So is the customer right?  Yes,  the customer is absolutely correct.  The customer is always correct about their pain points and problems.  Our job as small business owners and entrepreneurs is to resolve these pain points and problems by leaning on our education, training, experience and studies to apply the best solutions for them.

How can a small business or entrepreneur  lean on his/her education, training, experience and studies to apply a solution to their customers.

I have found that  for myself the transition from strictly freelancing to incorporating productized consulting provides the greatest value to customers. A short explanation of productized consulting that many would give is that it’s simply placing ones service offerings in packages similar to products.  I see it more as an opportunity to use your  education, training, experience and studies to create a solution for a niche audience that you have studied and worked with in the past. Imagine if you were a lawyer looking for a web developer to create a website.  What would your prefer…

  1. A web developer that said,”tell me what you want and it’s done”.
  2. A web developer that said, “ I have a solution that will increase clients registration and resolve the other top 3 issues that lawyers in your field face.  If you’re not sure what those issues are I would love to share them with you and welcome you to tell me if your issues are different.  We have a detailed solution for each one of the top issues lawyers like yourself indicated was problematic in the last calendar years”

I would have to assume that B comes across as a subject expert in the above scenario.  Is it wrong that web developer has offered to resolve the top 4 challenges in the lawyer’s field for them.  Is it arrogant that the web developer to utilize his skills, education, design and user experience to create a website that would create action that lawyers surveyed indicate they need?    The lawyer is correct for being aware that he  needs a website and he is not wrong for not knowing what he needs his website to resolve.

We must always listen to our customers and clients because there pain is real.  You are the expert in your field and that is why they have come to you.  I recommend you use your experience and expertise in your field to resolve these problems.  Trust the years, your passion and skill to help your clients because you know your field!  Feel free to share with your clients other problems that may arise by imploring only there solution and what you would rather recommend to resolve them.

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