Doing less is more

Posted on July 29, 2007

Summary There is a great irony in marketing any product or service. One goes to great lengths to uniquely position their product or service. Then we are careful to convey all the wonderful benefits our product/service will offer the potential buyer if only they'd become an actual buyer. The counter-intuitive thing is that this entire process is a whole lot easier if we promise less to the potential customer.

There is a great irony in marketing any product or service. One goes to great lengths to uniquely position their product or service. Then we are careful to convey all the wonderful benefits our product/service will offer the potential buyer if only they'd become an actual buyer.

The counter-intuitive thing is that this entire process is a whole lot easier if we promise less to the potential customer. Not only will we have to work less hard to actually implement all those things we are promising but then:

  1. it will be easier to convey the benefits to a potential buyer -- it'll be easier to hit them over the head, albeit politely hopefully, with a much simpler value proposition that stands out from the crowd
  2. there's less risk that we'll fail to deliver
  3. there will be less disagreement as to what we promised to deliver
  4. it'll be easier to up sell them later upgrades, accessories, add-ons, etc. when we develop those
  5. it'll be easier to over deliver, if we so chose, to gain the loyalty of our customer for a much longer period
  6. our execution steps and decision making will be clearer
  7. it'll be easier realize and to change direction if we discover we're offtrack
  8. we will have to work less for, at worst, equivalent net gain and even, due to less resistance and energy loss from stress and indecision, quite possibly for a greater net gain.

If you want repeat business from the same client/customer....
If you want to reduce your marketing expenses by relying more on word of mouth....
If you want happier employees....
If you want less stressed management....
If you want your potential customers to really understand why you're better....
If you want more satisfied customers/clients....
If you want less employee burnout....
If you want a better sales close ratio....
If you want to shorten the sales cycle....
If you want to simplify your strategic planning...
If you want to lower your customer service support costs....
If you want to improve your execution....
If you want to increase your profits....

Do less. Simplify. Strip things down to the bare essentials.

Promising less really does mean more -- for the customers, for staff, for management, for the business owner. Everyone gives up a bit less and gets a bit more.

Doing less is more. Really.

Some ideas:

Focus on a very specific need within a very specific target market (e.g. tourists visiting Philadelphia who are seeking to learn more about early American history).

Do not try to be all things to all people -- even if you ultimately intend to serve a larger market with a broader set of offerings. You are much more likely to succeed -- including serving that larger market -- if you focus first and expand later. Select a more specific niche within your long-term target market until you are able to nail it down to a very simple set of features/functionality and clearly stated value proposition. Nail it and move on to an adjacent niche.

If you are having problems keeping a project on deadline, don't change the date -- change the scope.

Avoid making promises where there's a decent chance you won't be able to deliver.

Under promise always and, at times, over deliver.

QUESTION : How simple can you make your business, your products, your services, and still make the same amount of profit while working less? If in doubt, what is the basis -- other than fear -- for your current belief?

CHALLENGE: Do more with less.


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