There are many products and services, and many types of customers. Anything you create and offer to others is a product. Your service to your peers and superiors is a product. You have internal and external customers; you have immediate and distant customers. What ever you offer to them, from paintings, education, newspaper, health, food, computers, pills, ball bearings to stock market information, is your product.
Even as an independent individual, whether you work for a larger organization or are a private entrepreneur, a retired teacher or a student embarking on a college career, you will benefit by conceptualizing yourself as a business. Business is the language of effectiveness. Its concepts help you tune up your mind for the race toward success, no matter what your enterprise. There are some fundamental questions for developing the business mind-set: What is my business? What is my product? Who are my customers? What do they perceive as value? The purpose of these questions is helping you to rethink what, in a larger sense, are you doing. System thinking and strategic intelligence are required to answer them. The only reason for a business is creating satisfied customers. By thinking yourself as a business, you formulate your thoughts and focus your mind, with the best chance of achieving your goals. That is the generic meaning of being a product advocate: you have something to create, something to market, something to sell, because you are something. You stand for something. Now promote it.
Markets must be integrated and managed not merely accepting what they are. The aggressive management of markets is not a matter of vision alone but also of risk taking. Neither the automobile non the computer was merchandised in response to a need. Market analysis could not have discovered customers for recombinant-DNA products. The market must be educated, and visionary leaders do precisely that. Remember three things:
- Customers treat you the way they have been treated by the rough world.
- Your job is to teach your customer.
- Customers want to buy what you have. You are successful in product advocacy because you can handle frustration better than the next guy. And never forget that your frustration is the same as your customer`s. If your customer can manage frustration better than you can the roles are reversed.
What do you sell? If you are a physician you sell health; if a lawyer, protection; if a priest, religion; if a teacher or a consultant, knowledge, self-development and tools; if an artist, experiences. The principles of successful product advocacy apply everywhere.
Innovations in organizations, new visions, new ideas, new products, new services and new processes often meet bureaucratic resistance, inertia and rigidity. To move an organization can feel moving through a crazy glue mountain, enveloping all efforts in an amorphous mass, bland and sticky. It is here that product advocates are welcome and needed. Do not give up. Press the system. Persist. Have faith. Today`s heresy is tomorrow`s dogma. It is just such kind of people that have become work heroes.
Copyright 1998 QBS, Inc.