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TitleInspired How to Create Products Customers
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Table of Contents
                            Chapter 1:
Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:
Chapter 4:
Chapter 5:
Chapter 6:
Chapter 7:
Chapter 8:
Chapter 9:
Chapter 10:
Chapter 11:
Chapter 12:
Chapter 13:
Chapter 14:
Chapter 15:
Chapter 16:
Chapter 17:
Chapter 18:
Chapter 19:
Chapter 20:
Chapter 21:
Chapter 22:
Chapter 23:
Chapter 24:
Chapter 25:
Chapter 26:
Chapter 27:
Chapter 28:
Chapter 29:
Chapter 30:
Chapter 31:
Chapter 32:
Chapter 33:
Chapter 34:
Chapter 35:
Chapter 36:
Chapter 37:
Chapter 38:
Chapter 39:
Chapter 40:
Chapter 41:
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 88

prospects, or often a blend of both. The key is that they believe this is a real problem to solve and
they need it solved as quickly as possible.

Here’s the deal:
The benefits to the customers/users that join:

They get early and significant product input—they recognize the problem that this product is
trying to solve, they feel the pain, and are anxious to ensure they find a good solution
They get early access to the product—again, they feel the pain, so the sooner they can get relief
the better
Typically, there is a significantly reduced cost, if any

The benefits to you:

You have a set of users and customers available for ongoing questions and dialog
You have access to the customer’s offices and the users at that company (or the company’s
developers if it’s a platform product)
The customers/users agree to come to your offices periodically for group sessions
The customer agrees to deploy test versions promptly and provide timely feedback (you’ll
typically be there with them)
If they are happy with the delivered product, the customer agrees to serve as a public reference
customer

A few critical points:

It’s important that the customer pay in advance to participate in this program. That would
make this a very different type of relationship. You want a partner in developing the product—
you do not want to build a custom solution just for them, and you’re not a project shop. You can
take their money after you deliver them a product they love.
If you’re like most companies, you will be overwhelmed with customers that want to participate.
It really is a great deal, and customers know this. If you have a sales organization, they’ll try to
use this as a bargaining chip, and the result is that you’ll be leaned on to include many more
customers than you can handle. This will take finesse at times, but it’s important that the
members of the charter user program be the right set. (Sometimes companies create an early
release program that is available for those customers that want the software early, but aren’t
right for the charter user program. This is fine. Just make sure you don’t accept more than about
10 customers into the charter user program as you won’t be able to manage them and work as
closely as you need to with that many.)
If you find that you are having real trouble recruiting charter users and customers, then it’s very
likely you are chasing a problem that isn’t that important, and you will probably have a very hard
time selling this product. This is one of the very first reality checks to make sure you are
spending your time on something worthwhile. If customers aren’t interested in this problem, you
may want to rethink your plans.
You need to make sure your charter users and customers are truly from your target market. It’s
easy to end up with early adopters, who are much more tolerant and can easily lead to a product
of interest only to early adopters (See the chapter ).

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