Customer Conversation Challenge 3: Complexity

The joke years ago was that the world had become so complicated we were destined for lives with blinking “12:00” on our VCRs. Does anyone believe our world is LESS complex, now that we’re beyond VCRs?Customer-Conversation-Crazy-Sign

The products and solutions of today are so complicated that they put tremendous pressure on both buyers and sellers. No buyer wants to be stuck with something that won’t work–or won’t work with the other complex thingies (“legacy infrastructure”) that have already absorbed money and time. Sellers, for their part, struggle to escape lingo, acronyms, and technical specs that don’t resonate with economic buyers.

The answer probably lies with a picture.

Seth Godin is among the smart marketers who have addressed our “Lizard Brains”–the tiny amygdala that hold us back when confronted with threats, new stimuli, and other complex stuff. For me, the compelling takeaway is that our Lizard Brains are incapable of processing verbal information.

Can your teams represent your products or services with a simple picture? I don’t mean a technical schematic—that’s still too complicated–but rather a visual that can be created in real time during the course of a customer conversation.

I’ve learned from Dan Roam and others about the power of “back of the napkin” visuals, and have crafted custom visuals for a number of clients. I can tell you from the front lines that they are powerful—not in making it easier for potential customers to understand your stuff, but rather for engaging prospects to open up about their business. A picture makes it far easier for prospects to “see” a future that includes your stuff in their lives.

Later I’ll share some tips for squeezing the complexity out of the verbal side of your conversations. Until then, consider Mark Twain’s quote: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one instead.”

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