Be a Product Manager, Be an Expert

An other one of those videos which always make me laugh.

I thought it was already very well known, but I often find people who haven’t seen it yet.

Don’t inflate their balloon

Why do I mention it? Because so many parts of this sketch are so realistic, unfortunately. Who, as a Product Manager visiting a client as sales support, hasn’t been the Expert in this video?

Except that when it happened to me, I never agreed on “inflating their balloon”. I believe that even in front of a potential customer, you need to stand strong on what value you deliver, and what you do not and will not deliver.

A customer that wants to distort your product is most of times:

  • not going to pay enough compared to the investment and technical/functional debt that the distortion will create (“distortion” includes any fully custom developed feature that won’t be of any use for anyone else)
  • going to make the distortion a blocker to signing the contract and starting to pay

As an expert, your job is to make sure that the prospect understands the value that your product provides, and make them feel comfortable with it.

I’ve often seen people come up with some crazy requirements, and put them on the table in a stressed out manner. Probably that they were thinking “Hey, I have a lot of problems in my daily job. If we’re willing to invest in a product, then that product should solve all of my problems!”. And probably that they were worried that the product would solve someone else’s problems in their team, but not theirs. In the end, a good explanation was always helping. I’ve even helped some companies evolve from years-old complex processes, that they wanted to get back into the product at the price of a heavy evolution, to simple best practices. And at that point, they were still not using the product itself.

Be an Evangelist

Being an Expert means:

  • be a good listener
  • be a good teacher
  • stand strong on your product values
  • understand quickly when you actually need to improve or add a feature, in a way that will help the majority of your customer base
  • give the vision of your product, and manage expectations on this vision: the customer won’t get everything on the next day

Still, enjoy…. 😉

4 Replies to “Be a Product Manager, Be an Expert”

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