Did Mr Kipling eat his own cakes? Do you use what you sell? If the answer to that is “no”, just think about that for a moment. Think about how that sounds to the client who asked you that question.
Back in the late 1970’s Victor Kiam, the President and CEO of Remington Products, became a household name for appearing in an ad and endorsing one of his products with the line "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company". Corny? Maybe. Powerful? Certainly.
I used to joke that I’ve never worked for a company that took its own advice but actually, it’s not a very funny joke. In fact, it flies in the face of all logic because there are so many reasons to consume what you sell, whether it’s a product, a service, or consultancy. If your company uses what it sells, then read no further because I’ll be preaching to the choir but I suspect that you’ll be in the minority.
Having recently bullied one of my clients into using its own product, I thought I would share some reasons why it’s such a good idea:
You can show people you believe in it. It works for you and it’ll work for them (and as they probably work for a company that doesn’t use its own stuff, they’ll be really impressed that you do).
You can show people you trust it to do what it says on the tin. A demo is all very well but it can’t compare to seeing the real thing being used in a real situation.
You’ll know what’s really good about it and you can help your clients get the most out of it.
You’ll know its weaknesses and can anticipate and counter potential objections – and you’ll have valuable input for your product design teams for improvements and enhancements.
My client got all these benefits plus their margins increased. If you have never used your product, how can you know whether it actually delivers the value you say it does? Or what the user experience is really like? Is it too expensive? Too complicated? Not of a high enough quality? Not as good as another product on the market? Does it deliver bits of value you didn’t expect to find so you can charge more?
It’s great when your customers evangelise your product or service after using it but if you can’t use yourself as a reference you run the risk of destroying trust. And if you won’t use it, how can you expect anyone else to?